We all wait, but the climate does not!
This is a guest blog post sending a message of urgent action and a warning to politicians and leaders who are not currently leading the way to a green future. Please read Danish author Uffe Jensen:
Are they simply putting us off? Well!, They — the World leaders — seem to agree to act so that the rising temperature should be kept below 2 degrees Celsius, or preferably at 1,5 degrees. Not all of them though: the USA are not participating. The biggest authority on climatology, Donald Trump, agrees that temperatures are increasing, but his expert calculations prove beyond doubt that humankind har been wrongly accused and convicted of malpractice.
He has not been able to come up with an alternative explanation, even though he is also the authority supreme, on alternative truths.
But the rest of the world leaders seem to be pretending, not actually acting.
World leaders have a simple, but efficient way to circle around the main issues. They promise that now they will find ways to implement the promises from the COP23 in Paris — the one promising 2 or even 1,5 degrees. Every country is allowed to find their own methods — no cooperation in finding the best global solutions to this borderless problem.
Each country has allowed their political dance circling around the problem so that it seems that they are acting. But as one of the Swedish speakers (Greta Thunberg) at COP24, stated: “You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us in the future”.
The world leaders started their circling dance in 1995, and have had 24 meetings to find solutions and to begin acting. But they are still just circling around. The COP-meetings have in essence just been a sideshow to entertain and satisfy the public.
There was not much concrete information on what they would do from the last COP meeting, when the many world leaders, with the polish president in the front, clapped at themselves for yet another time of no action, but successful manipulation.
Let us have the answer to the most important questions:
How much should the emissions of CO2e (or CO2 equivalents) decrease in order to reach the goal of 2 degrees?
What are the primary CO2 emitters, like the USA, China and the EU, going to do to fulfil this decreased emission?
The answer to the first question is well known. But the second answer is still blowing in the wind, with increasing hurricane frequency.
The COP sideshow had its premiere performance in 1995. If the leaders had acted at that time, and implemented solutions to decrease CO2 emissions, the economic impact of this implementation would have been far less important to the powerful elite, and the chance of obtaining the goal of 2 degrees would have been far easier to accomplish.
Now we have wasted 25 years on politicians in power, but powerless to act.
There are many interesting sources on the net to help provide the first answer. One of them is this.
This report from 2010 is a summary of numerous scientific reports, compiled by the independent organization climatecommunication.org.
A short summary of the summary:
• To keep the temperature increase at 2 degrees or below the global CO2 concentration should be kept at 400 to 450 ppm (0,04 to 0,045%) and be kept at this level for an extended period of time. In 2010 the concentration was 382 ppm (other sources say 389 ppm), with an increase of about 2 ppm-points per year. It is still increasing, and in January 2019 it reached 410 ppm.
• To keep the concentration at this level CO2 emission will have to be decreased by 60% at 2050.
• The global economic impact of such a reduction would a decrease in the global GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 3%, i.e. economic growth reduced by 0,12% each year.
I think even the most growth dependent companies would have survived. In the USA economic growth in GDP were about 3,2% each year in 2010. I doubt very much that reduced growth of 3,08% a year would have had any significant impact on the US economy.
But alas.; Trump is a president, that is sucking up to poorer part of the society while continuing a growth strategy, that ought to have become fossilized many years ago.
It is far more uncertain if we will survive the climate changes. The longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes and the greater the impact will be. The potential socio-economic problems caused by implementing the necessary changes will become greater the longer we wait.
It is like waiting months to have an infected tooth removed because you are afraid of the pain involved.
Oops! I forgot the impacts on ecology and biodiversity. But remember: the planet will get over it. It has been hit by biodiversity-crises many times before, several of them far worse than what we humans will be able to provoke. The planet has survived to loose more than 90% of its biodiversity, and have been able to bounce back. It will be able to do that again. We should focus on our ability to survive as a species. We can protect the planet AND humankind by making sure that the poorest part of the population will be favoured over the rich part, who are the ones culpable in creating the problems, with their overconsumption of imported products, air travel, beef etc.
We didn’t get started in 1995, we were still circling in 2010, and we still haven’t started anything but talk in 2018/19.
If we had started in 1995 in reaching the goal of a 60% decrease in CO2 emission by 2050, a yearly decrease of about 1% would have been enough. But now a yearly decrease of 3,3% is necessary. This will be substantiated at the end of this blog entry.
When debating the necessary actions to accomplish the goal, the focus is on what Mr and Mrs Ordinary should do: eat less meat, and fly less, etc. The focus is on ordinary people. They are the guilty ones, those that fail to act.
But is this real?
Of course, it would have an impact if all Americans, Chinese and Europeans cut down on their beef and air travel. But we need to remember that most of the energy consumed in producing all this beef, is an effect of the fact that the beef is produced by growing fodder or even importing it, and fertilizers, from far away. The cows are produced in enormous industrial facilities, consuming fossil fuels at an enormous rate. If we gradually cut down on this behaviour and produced beef by simply letting the cows eat grass, the energy consumption from this production would decrease significantly — some say about 70%. The production would, of course, decrease as well, so we would have to eat less beef, probably by about two thirds or more — source.
The same way of thinking could be transferred to other parts of the economy. Our national economies have become extremely dependent on world trade, and this means that products or materials necessary for production are being transported over vast distances, consuming fossil fuel at an enormous rate. Globalized trade could very well be one of the main culprits in the climate blame game.
Mr and Mrs Ordinary would still have to act, consuming less imported products. Companies would have to act, by decreasing their reliance on global trade. But politicians also need to act to create the political and macro-economic framework needed to boost this reorganization of the economy. It would be a good idea if countries worked together.
Remember: all we need is a 3–4 % decrease in CO2 emissions each year. It will be tough, but it can be done if we all participate constructively, without impacting the macro-economy severely.
In essence, we need to de-globalize national economies, gradually by some 3–4 % each year.
Below you’ll find some numbers and statistics.
CO2 concentrations — source.
• In 1995 the CO2 concentration was about 360 ppm.
• In 2010 CO2 concentration was 382 ppm, perhaps 389 ppm.
• In 2019 it had increased to 410 ppm. It must increase much more if the goal is to be reached. The growth in emissions does not seem to be decreasing. In 2018 there was a new world record — source.
CO2 emissions — source
• 1995: 22 billion tons (Gtons).
• 2010: 31 billion tons.
• 2018: 37 billion tons — source.
From these numbers combined with the goal of 60% drop in emissions by 2050 it is quite easy the following numbers:
• Starting in 1995: 1,03% drop in CO2 emissions each year.
• Starting in 2010: 2,25% drop in CO2 emissions each year.
• Starting in 2019: 3,34% drop in CO2 emissions each year.
These numbers can be combined into this graph:
Written by: Uffe Jensen, Danmark
Facts about Uffe Jensen
Uffe is an author and writer. Uffe writes on his blog: retsdemokrati.blog or on https://rightsanddemocracy.blog/contact-and-presentation and in English at rightsanddemocracy.blog.
Facts about We Don’t Have Time
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