( A Disturbing Twelve minute read)
With a world that is in a categorical state of chaos ignoring the fact the climate is already altered can not continue.
It is certainly too late to stop all climate change.
Climate change is not an on-off switch. It is a continuing process. Emitting greenhouse gases is a lot like overflowing a bathtub. Even a slow trickle will eventually flood the room.
By continuing to delay significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we risk handing both an impossible financial and technological burden to future generations.
They have to realize that every decision they make now impacts all species’ chances, and by not acting – by allowing the status quo to continue – we will not only lose nature’s ability to rapidly adapt in future but our also.
Our children and grandchildren may be unable to understand how we negotiated such an arrangement on their behalf.
The era of top-down carbon markets, unlimited unit supply and rising domestic emissions has ended. Right now, only governments can purchase international emissions reductions.
We cannot and must not rely on international markets to set our future domestic emission price with carbon credits. Nor can we rely on International agreements such as the Paris Climate deal and the Kyoto Protocol, they are only having a marginal effect.
Despite the avoidance of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions through use of renewable energy, increased efficiency and conservation efforts, the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remains high.
True climate sensitivity will only become manifest on a time scale of centuries, due to effects that researchers call “slow climate feedbacks.”
Because climate change is unlikely to proceed in a linear way.
Because it is not just scientists fear “tipping points” in the climate system. There is also tipping points in social, economic and political systems.
This is where we are to-day.
So far we have experienced about 1.1℃ of average global warming since the Industrial Revolution. Over this time atmospheric CO₂ levels have risen from 280ppm to 410ppm – and the equivalent of more than 450ppm after factoring in the effects of all the other greenhouse gases besides CO₂.
While wildfires radical shifting forest habitats we looking at a greening globe as plants grow faster in response to rising carbon dioxide.
We are looking at rising sea levels, submerging low-lying island nations. We are already seeing wars over water, and we will be seeing millions of climate refugees.
There is little understanding that electric vehicles will be in the main pollution shifters- from the tail pipe to power generation stations.
If we can convince people that climate change is real and important, then surely they will act:
No they will not.
Critically, if people thought acting on climate change would improve society it would matter if they believed it was happening or not, or whether it was important. And it would not also matter what political ideology they held.
You might think if action on climate change reduces pollution or stimulates economic development, people who value clean air or economic growth might support climate change action, even if they are unconvinced or unconcerned about climate change itself. Issues like pollution and poor health being commonly invoked as co-benefits of addressing climate change, reducing pollution, poverty and disease are the weakest motivator of climate change action.
Although mitigating climate change will produce these health and pollution benefits, these don’t appear to strongly motivate people’s willingness to act. In addition there is the possibility of unknown effects –- those that are hard to predict because the planet’s climate is such a complex system where strong regional variability is the norm.
Making society more caring is a strong motivator for action across the globe, whereas promoting development varied in its effects across countries. Developing countries are already being paid in cash and technology for not using ozone-destroying chemicals in refrigerators and air-conditioning systems.
If we stopped emitting greenhouse gases right now, would we stop climate change?
In order to stop the accumulation of heat, we would have to eliminate not just carbon dioxide emissions, but all greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide. So if we stop emitting carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels today, it’s not the end of the story for global warming. In any event, it’s not possible to stop emitting carbon dioxide right now. Despite significant advances in renewable energy sources, total demand for energy accelerates.
The importance of climate change as a public issue has been slipping in countries such as the United States, and is given a relatively low priority across the world.
Future emissions may be dominated by large developing countries like China and India. While neither can be blamed for climate change so far, they clearly have to be part of the solution.
Humans have pumped over 1.5 trillion tonnes of CO₂ into the atmosphere since 1750. It is not just the amount, but the rate at which this CO₂ has been added.
The industrialized nations have already emitted enough carbon dioxide and humanity cannot afford for the developing world to take the same path.
With MR Dump in the USA denying that US alone is responsible this is now probably the biggest challenge.
So a deal has to be done that is binding fair and achievable not just verbal rhetoric.
It will require large flows of technology and cash to the developing world.
Ecosystems are altered by natural and human-made occurrences. As they recover, it will be in a different climate from that in which they evolved. The climate in which they recover will not be stable; it will be continuing to warm. There will be no new normal, only more change.
We won’t go back to the past. Rather than trying to recover the past, we need to be thinking about best possible futures.
Communicate climate change to the public in more convincing ways:
The real key is to ensure that climate change initiatives directly benefit the pocket of the individual.
How can this be achieved?
Place a blanket World Aid Commission of 0.05% on all stock exchange transactions. On all High Frequency Trading. On all Sovereignty Wealth Funds Acquisitions. On all Foreign Exchange Transactions over lets say $50,000.
Establish a new World Aid Organisation totally transparent and free of United Nations Veto to manage this perpetually funded.
This organisation uses Capitalist Greed for profit by issuing Green Bonds with a guaranteed return. It authorities non repayable loans to all projects that tackles climate change. Subsidizes Solar panels production to reduce costs. Helps re-settlement.
While these costs will be spread over 80 years, this will also be a period in which the global population will increase from seven billion to perhaps 11 billion and beyond. Humanity will need to grow enough crops to feed these billions while fueling BECCS schemes (Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage) at a time when climate change will already be impacting food production.
Could this be achieved:
In politics, most things can be done if there is the will.
The more big investors and companies report on the impacts of climate change, the more information will be available for everyone. You and I will be able to better understand what role our retirement savings are playing in tackling climate change.
It less obvious how climate change policies could help create communities where people care more for each other.“Top-down” policies such as a carbon tax or emissions trading aren’t traditionally the stuff that helps build communities.
However, policies that support “bottom-up” initiatives have this potential, such as engaging local communities in climate change activities that build friendships and strengthen networks. People will be motivated to act on climate change when they think it would lead to scientific and economic advances (development), and when it will help create a society where people cared more for each other (benevolence).
The New World Organisation should have its own TV Channel. What gets measured gets managed, including climate change.