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Responding to our Climate Emergency — The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

industrial air pollution from smokestack
Air Pollution (source:

Just when we reach for it, we realize The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy can only be found on the Fiction shelves. F — not SF — with barely a hint of science warped to suggest credibility. But, oh, how we chuckled at the patently preposterous existential crisis for a planet Earth where no one had bothered to read the planning notices.

But today our self-inflicted existential crisis is no comedic platform. Novelists prefer the dystopian where borders blurred by reality are fading into climatic irrelevance. COP26 (or COPout26 as some insist) reduced COP President, Alok ‘down, but not out’ Sharma, to tears and moved manipulative mindsets to imagine novel ways of avoiding reality. But, as Jason Hickel writes, “If we accept the facts of climate change, we also have to accept the radical changes necessary to address it.”

Jason Hickel’s paper, published this post-COP week by Current Affairs, simply asks, “What would it look like if we treated the climate crisis like an actual emergency?” This is a very good question. It demands that readers acknowledge they are not yet fully awake to the full urgency of our planet’s life prospects.

“The single most important intervention is the one that so far, no government has been willing to touch: cap fossil fuel use and scale it down, on a binding annual schedule, until the industry is mostly dismantled by the middle of the century. That’s it. This is the only fail-safe way to stop climate breakdown. If we want real action, this should be at the very top of our agenda.”

Facing reality is not easy but ‘the game’ is up. We need not panic but we absolutely must insist on having a clear plan. Political leadership on issues as painful as the adjustments we now must make will need far more than a Hitchhiker’s Guide. We can no longer pretend that we’ve not seen the planning notices. We know where we are heading and the scale of course correction needed. Jason Hickel’s message rises above the vast COP26 media coverage and hand-wringing politics. It deserves to be read aloud in every community, in every institution, in every corporation, every church, on every media channel, and at every convention. We might even revive the role of Town Criers to proclaim the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.


This article is listed as part of the Groupe Intellex GovernanceSeries. It was first published by the UK’s Liberal Democrat Voice.



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Groupe Intellex

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David Brunnen on Governance (Communities, Sustainability & Digital Challenges} PLUS reflections on life in Portchester — the place that he calls home.