Friday, August 13, 2021

Climate Change: The IPCC rebels

This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the first part of its Sixth Assessment Report, ringing the warning bell even louder. How these reports are produced is that the scientists agree a consensus, and then the governments go over it line-by-line and redact it to fit their own views, which means that it tends to be watered down. So a bunch of scientists working on the third part of the report - the "what we need to do about it" part, due out next year - have simply leaked it:

Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak in the next four years, coal and gas-fired power plants must close in the next decade and lifestyle and behavioural changes will be needed to avoid climate breakdown, according to the leaked draft of a report from the world’s leading authority on climate science.

Rich people in every country are overwhelmingly more responsible for global heating than the poor, with SUVs and meat-eating singled out for blame, and the high-carbon basis for future economic growth is also questioned.


The top 10% of emitters globally, who are the wealthiest 10%, contribute between 36 and 45% of emissions, which is 10 times as much as the poorest 10%, who are responsible for only about three to 5%, the report finds. “The consumption patterns of higher income consumers are associated with large carbon footprints. Top emitters dominate emissions in key sectors, for example the top 1% account for 50% of emissions from aviation,” the summary says.

[You can see how rich-country and fossil-fuel country representatives would object to that message...]

And if these people only emitted as much as the rest of us, and gave up their jetset lifestyles and overconsumption, we wouldn't be in nearly the same mess. As for how to make that happen, taxing them out of existence would seem to be a good start.