”What the hell are they thinking?”

Fifteen years! That’s all the time we have to completely de-carbonize the world economy, according to Jeffrey Sachs, professor in economics and world leader in sustainable development.

Jeffrey D. Sachs keynote at the #WeDontHaveTime Climate Conference 2018. Find out more about the worlds first no-fly global climate conference here.
“We don’t have time, but we do have a way” Mr Sachs said in his speech.

The solutions exist. We know what we need to do in order make the leap to a world economy based on zero carbon energy. So why isn’t it happening?

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs live interview as seen from inside the control room in the studio at the We Don’t Have Time Climate Conference, April 22 2018. Photography by David Hjortsberg.

Jeffrey Sachs is a leading voice on the subject. He has been called ”probably the most important economist in the world” by the New York Times, and Time Magazine has twice listed him as one of the 100 most influential world leaders. In his keynote speech at the WeDontHaveTime climate conference on Earth Day, April 22, 2018, he pointed out two major obstacles blocking the pathway to success in our battle against climate change.

The first thing that’s missing is a plan of action. The knowledge and capacity to look ahead, to understand that the world needs to de-carbonize by mid-century.

He says countries and regions must work together and start trading renewable energy the way that they are today trading oil, coal and natural gas.

China, which has a lot of work to do in decarbonization, has put together a wonderful initiative called The Global Energy Interconnection, with the idea of linking together all of the world’s renewable energy into a connected grid to service all of the world for deep decarbonization.

The second big obstacle is the effect of oil on the political economy.

Oil drives you crazy. Oil corrupts politics. Oil buys politicians, says professor Sachs.

To illustrate this he points out that the USA is the only country out of 193 which has declared its intention to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Our president is crazy, but it’s not because he is crazy that that’s happening. It’s happening because the Republican leadership in the US congress is owned and operated by the oil industry.

Mr Sachs makes no attempt to hide his distaste for companies like Exxon Mobile, Koch Industries, ConocoPhillips and Chevron, adding that they are trying to “block the 21st century”.

What the hell are they thinking? Because the whole world depends on us decarbonizing, but in their greed they are perverting the political system for a few more years of profit.

In Canada, the popular and environmentally profiled prime minister Justin Trudeau is defending more pipelines for natural gas. This, according to Jeffrey Sachs, is another example of how the oil industry corrupt politics and societies with devastating large-scale effects that threaten us all. In the case of fracking the professor referred to what happens in Alberta and other parts of Canada and called it “completely weird”.

The WeDontHaveTime climate conference was the first “No-Fly” global conference of its kind. Dr Sachs hailed the arrangement as “brilliant” and “a model for a global conference” and he then added:

It is movements like #WeDontHaveTime that will break the hammerlock of the oil industry and enable humanity to save itself.

Written by: Markus Lutteman

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