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.
...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.