The Benefit of the Doubt Has Run Its Course


When it comes to the climate emergency, world leaders are long on promises and very short on meaningful action. There was a time when we tolerated empty promises but, now, the clock is running out on slashing greenhouse gas emissions. 

We're told if we are to have a reasonable chance of averting climate catastrophe the world's major emitters need to cut their emissions by half by 2030 and be "carbon neutral" by 2050. If we don't, we're hooped. We're not getting any more second chances.

Make no mistake. 50 by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2050, those are truly Herculean challenges. You won't get either one of them with half measures and inconsistencies. You know that phrase, "you only had one job"? Well this is our governments' one job and there's no guarantee we'll succeed. There are, however, plenty of ways to guarantee we'll fail.

Guardian enviroscribe, Damian Carrington, discusses how to tell whether your government is in it to win it or out to fail.

All are talking tough on climate, but China is building one large coal-fired power station a week, Japan remains one of the biggest financiers of overseas coal plants and Norway is developing giant new oil and gas fields.

Canada’s premier Justin Trudeau says climate change is an “existential threat”, yet the country’s emissions have actually increased since the 2015 Paris deal, thanks to its tar sands exploitation. Oh, and many nations still subsidise fossil fuels, which is like buying more cigarettes when you’re trying to quit smoking.

...Companies are, if anything, even better bullshitters than governments, and the fossil fuel giants are masters. Many are still exploring for new reserves, when we already have more than can ever be safely burned.

...Offsets sound good in theory, but too often are fantasy accounting. Planting trees is a popular idea, but even if every possible new tree on the planet took root and started sucking up carbon, they would still be overwhelmed by fossil fuel emissions.

...So what to make of it all? Don’t think there is no real climate action: renewable energy and electric cars are accelerating rapidly. And companies’ pledges can sometimes be impressive, for example Burger King committing to less meat and more plants in the patties it serves up.

But until every government and corporate decision has to pass the bullshit test – does it really cut carbon now – then we are kidding ourselves if we think we are treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is.

These guys - and, yes, that includes Justin Trudeau - have the future of our grandchildren in their hands. Don't judge them by their promises - those are worthless, we've had decades to learn that. Judge them by whether they make the hard decisions, now. Don't let them run the clock out on us.


  1. It's not about what they say, Mound. It's about what they do.

    1. That is the bottom line, Owen. There's enough blame to go around. The citizenry deserves its share for allowing these supposed leaders to feed us their song and dance without consequence. They load their commitments with weasel words. When their promises don't materialize they fall back on their preloaded wiggle room.

      Truth be told, I can't see that the public has much enthusiasm for the sacrifices effective action might demand of them. We want solutions provided they're painless, effortless. That doesn't absolve our leadership for its perfidy but the rank and file don't have clean hands either.

  2. He who blinks last reaps the biggest financial rewards.

    If our attitude to Covid is anything to go by then we are screwed with climate change.


    1. We are definitely not rising to the challenge, are we TB?

  3. Just who 'invented' greed and selfishness?
    Humanity came this far by being co operative .
    Without , at least, a little bit of common good we would not have lasted this long.
    Nowadays it is who dies with the most toys wins!
    Even the death of a super rich individual is elevated to ranks of Sainthood?
    Three million die of starvation in this or that country.
    Philanthropist Donald El Amamid von supersucker whose fortunes are buried within the the tax havens of A B or C are worshipped!!

    Time for a change.
    Democracy with it's highly overrated participants has brought us to this point of self destruction.

    Selfishness is not a reason to vote..


    1. Aren't "greed and selfishness" a part of our nature as old as man himself?

      I suspect co-operation, essential to civilization, is a learned behaviour. We give in order that we may get and, at that, often with sharp elbows. If co-operation was altruistic, wouldn't most of the poor peoples of the have-not countries be much better off?


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