If humanity wants to hope to contain global warming below 1.5°C – Governments must close the gap between net zero rhetoric and reality.
There can be no more hiding, and no more denying deluding yourself with a lot of greenwashing.
Political leaders, blinded by capital and powerful private interests, have long decided Earth is a small price to pay for the yachts, mansions, private jets and record profits of the one percent.
In Glasgow at the COP26 climate conference we watched as world leaders came up with new excuses, symbolic targets and new ways to silence the progressive voices who opposed them.
Global heating is supercharging extreme weather at an astonishing speed, this life-altering issue which we are NOW all witnessing daily – Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan, is not getting the urgency and attention it demands.
Exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year.
If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.
A huge part can be done with existing technologies.
These technologies can and will create billions of jobs to drive a sustainable world, but it remains a fight of David against Goliath, because of how we measure our well being.
How we evaluate what we are doing needs to change.
GDP is a totally numbers-driven index that does not produce the true picture.
There are growing calls to find GDP alternatives to measure countries’ wealth and welfare.
GDP can’t accurately represent the wealth of a country when it ignores how money is divvied up.
Considering GDP alone, a rich country where 10% of the population controls 75% of the wealth (looking at you, United States) may rank higher than a poorer country with a more even distribution of wealth.
One of GDP’s biggest flaws is that it counts tragedies as economic bonuses. If a hurricane or tornado hits and a country spends millions of dollars rebuilding, those expenses boost GDP, even though people lost their homes, jobs, and lives.
GDP ignores many crucial ways to measure the wealth of a country: clean air, health, life span, gender equality, opportunity, education, and more. This is understandable – GDP wasn’t developed to rank countries’ welfare, but simply to measure money as the world recovered from the Great Depression.
Of course GDP cant be replaced over night, but it can be complemented by a Thriving Places Index (TPI) and this index could easily be expanded to other parts of the world.
TPI’s primary focuses are sustainability, equality, and local conditions. Unlike GDP, this index measures equality by investigating how evenly distributed life expectancy and wellbeing are across a country.
Interestingly, the U.N. encourages nations to use it alongside their gross national income data. They say that it can help governments assess national policy by “asking how two countries with the same level of GNI per capita can end up with different human development outcomes.”
By factoring in the ecological footprint, inequality, wellbeing, and life expectancy of a country, it provides a simple but rounded glance at the wealth of a country.
This alone will not however solve the problems that are now on the horizon.
We must implement measurements by monetising environmental damage factors to help countries better understand exactly where they stand environmentally.
The Green GDP is a noble effort to factor in the cost of climate change in a way that people whose focus is money can appreciate. While subjective data can immediately turn some financially conservative parties off, putting a number on the impact of environmental negligence could potentially hit home.
Our Profit driven societies focused too much on an idea that futuristic technologies will save the world from climate chaos, rather than focusing on what can be done today. If cuts to carbon are left to the future and not made in this decade, it will be too late to stay within the 1.5C limit.
What are the crucial new technologies in development for combatting Climate Change?
Clean energy is perhaps the biggest issue to tackle.
Convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source using sunlight.
There are numerous projects trying to achieve this, but most of the hydrogen used today is extracted from natural gas NG00, -3.93% in a process that emits carbon dioxide as well as the more-fleeting, but more-potent, methane.
Electrical transport and advanced batteries?
Particularly for use in electric vehicles; hydrogen; and carbon capture appears to be the miracle solution to reduce the heavy ecological impact of transport. This technology is not all green under the hood. Even before having driven a single kilometre, the electric vehicle has emissions almost twice as high as those of a thermal vehicle.
Big data has big implications in creating awareness about the consequences of climate change but it’s harvesting with the use of non transparent and unregulated algorithms.
Crowdsourcing for environmental solutions by gathering journalists, scientists, technologists, and people passionate about sustainability is creating a new wave of environmentalism.
Mobile apps such as Oroeco is an app that tracks your carbon footprint by placing a carbon value on everything you buy, eat, and do. However most Apps are profit seeking and like Big data they remain un -transparent and unregulated.
Interactive maps really drive home the point of climate change.
All of these technologies use microchips in order to operate and these are made from rare finite resources.
For the first time, a mining company is preparing to mine the seabed to collect rocks rich in metals for the batteries of electric cars. A practice that promises to destroy ecosystems that are still unexplored and that could constitute a ticking “climate bomb”. Poisoning of fresh water reserves, artificialization and loss of biodiversity, toxicity for humans, radioactive pollution, occupation of agricultural land… The extraction and transformation of raw materials are much more polluting than for the fossil car.
In the end here is where we are.
Some of the highlights included a prediction of violent conflicts and civil wars, extreme poverty and the loss of several points of gross domestic product in some developing nations, mass extinctions, and an intense, regular pattern of natural disasters.
The average decline of the species analysed was 68% in 2020, and 60% in 2018, revealing an accelerating collapse of biodiversity around the world. “We can tell ourselves that 1% is not much, but losing 1% in two years is absolutely colossal. The mere fact that this index is not improving is a disaster in itself
Taking into account a global population rise of about 2 billion people, as well as the need to supply electricity to 785 million people who do not have access to it, and clean cooking to the 2.6 billion people who currently lack it there is no more time for multinationals to obtain justice.
Governments must fine them.
Instead we see governments like the UK licensing new oil and gas fields in the North Sea and has also mooted a new coalmine for coking coal alongside introducing fracking.
Instead we see Energy being use a a weapon of war.
We all know what is necessary for life however in the age of instant gratification, we have little appreciation of where it all come from and we remain unwilling to pay for a future that only exists on the planet we all inhabit.
A large-scale nuclear war would, by all scientific projections, be a planetary disaster of the highest order.
A large -scale climate event would be far worse. Here to day gone to morrow against watch our demise over a few generations.
So every one of us must engage now. ( See previous posts as how this can be achieved)
The simplest thing you can do is educate others.
Tell people there are other ways to measure a country’s wealth.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.