Friday, September 28, 2018

Climate change: Talk isn't enough

At the Paris climate conference in 2015, the world agreed to try and limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The evidence is mounting that exceeding that limit would be disastrous, leading to positive feedback, famine, mass-migration, and war. But despite making a commitment, our governments are not even close to doing what is necessary to meet it:

The world’s governments are “nowhere near on track” to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial period, according to an author of a key UN report that will outline the dangers of breaching this limit.

A massive, immediate transformation in the way the world’s population generates energy, uses transportation and grows food will be required to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C and the forthcoming analysis is set to lay bare how remote this possibility is.

“It’s extraordinarily challenging to get to the 1.5C target and we are nowhere near on track to doing that,” said Drew Shindell, a Duke University climate scientist and a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which will be unveiled in South Korea next month.

“While it’s technically possible, it’s extremely improbable, absent a real sea change in the way we evaluate risk. We are nowhere near that.”

To avoid catastrophe, we need a massive decarbonisation of the economy and a rapid switch from fossil fuels to clean energy for our electricity and transport systems. The good news is that the technology to do this is mostly there. The bad news is that we are simply not adopting it fast enough. Which is one of the reasons I'm so pissed off about Labour's sneaky, two-faced rollback of its tiptoe step towards decarbonisation: because we simply can not afford such bullshit. Fossil fuels need to be kept in the ground, not burned to warm the atmosphere. And we need to be doing more to make that happen, not less.