Thursday, November 21, 2019

Climate Change: We need to end fossil fuels

Finally, governments seem slowly to be beginning to act on climate change. But its not enough. While they're publicly signing up to targets, they're planning to destroy the world by continuing fossil fuel extraction:

The world’s nations are on track to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas as can be burned in 2030 while restricting rise in the global temperature to 1.5C, analysis shows.

The report is the first to compare countries’ stated plans for fossil fuel extraction with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which is to keep global heating well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for 1.5C. It exposes a huge gap, with fossil fuel production in 2030 heading for 50% more than is consistent with 2C, and 120% more than that for 1.5C.


“We’re in a deep hole – and we need to stop digging,” said Måns Nilsson, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), which was part of the analysis. “Despite more than two decades of climate policymaking, fossil fuel production levels are higher than ever.”

Its not enough to target fossil fuel demand with carbon prices and electric car policies and phase-outs of power stations: we need to directly target supply as well, and cut it off. New Zealand has begun this process by ending offshore oil exploration, but that doesn't go nearly far enough: we need to end extraction as well, and not just for oil and gas, but for coal too. And its not just New Zealand; we need a global fossil fuels non-proliferation treaty to manage this industry down to a level consistent with human survival.

Of course, that means bursting the carbon bubble, and admitting that fossil fuel companies are valueless, because their balance sheets are based on "reserves" which can never be extracted and sold. And that means a lot of rich people (and suckers) will lose a lot of money, which in turn will mean a lot of screaming and lobbying to prevent it. But its going to happen one way or another, either by planned government action or when the markets finally admit it to themselves. And on that front, planned is almost certainly better, but it means politicians get directly blamed for it. And to be honest, I just don't think our establishment, Status quo parties are up for that. Which means if we want to save ourselves, we need to get rid of them first.