Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Climate Change: Our future is on the line

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released the next part of its Sixth Assessment Report, on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, and its grim. Fire, flood, famine, plague, sea-level rise, wet-bulbing, and that's just if we stay below 1.5 degrees. If we go higher - and we seem to be on that path at the moment - then things are going to be even worse. The Summary for Policymakers ends with a very strong and simple statement:

The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.
The quicker we act, the less bad things will be. And we know what action we need to take: massive and rapid decarbonisation of the global energy system, which means the complete destruction of the global fossil fuel industry. Interestingly, the solutions to our crises are combining: Russia's invasion of Ukraine is funded by oil and gas revenues, so decarbonisation is also a measure for a more peaceful world. And it seems the government of Germany recognises that, bringing forward its 100% renewables target by 15 years so they can get off Russian gas.

In Aotearoa, our government finally has the beginnings of a policy. But it needs to use this as an opportunity to increase its ambition, and push further and faster for decarbonisation. We clearly can do it; the question is cost and who pays for it. And the government is still dragging its feet, trying to do things on the cheap and protect polluters like the dairy industry. But if we are to have a liveable future, we need to drive these ecological criminals out of business. And the longer we delay in doing so, the worse things will be.