Emissions Cuts. Are You Serious?


Torrential rain flooded the approaches to London's venerable Tower Bridge today.  The nearby Tube station was flooded - of course.

Meanwhile, "Don't Mess With Texas" is expecting up to 20 inches of rain today as Tropical Storm Nicholas makes landfall before moving on to Louisiana where they're still dealing with flooding from the last hurricane. It's thought that Nicholas could park itself for a while over the Lake Charles to New Orleans area.

Events like these reveal the farcical nature of our political parties' approach to climate change. To them it's a matter of obliging some future government to slash greenhouse gas emissions by X per cent by Year Y. Even if political fairy tales could come true, it's not going to make an appreciable dent in this climate emergency.

As the World Meteorological Organization reported two weeks ago, weather related disasters have increased five fold over the last 50 years. That's not going away. Emissions cuts won't make that deadly threat disappear or even recede.  If you're willing to trust your security and wellbeing and your grandkids' future to Justin Trudeau or Erin O'Toole or even Jagmeet Singh, you're in real trouble.

As George Monbiot warned last week, we're already nudging nature over the edge. Nature is stirring and that's not a good thing. We, mankind, created a hotter, wetter, and more volatile atmosphere. That's our doing. Now those same conditions are triggering knock-on effects, really nasty stuff, and that's completely out of our control. 

It’s true that our only hope of avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown is some variety of net zero. What this means is that greenhouse gases are reduced through a combination of decarbonising the economy and drawing down carbon dioxide that’s already in the atmosphere. It’s too late to hit the temperature targets in the Paris agreement without doing both. But there are two issues: speed and integrity. Many of the promises seem designed to be broken.

At its worst, net zero by 2050 is a device for shunting responsibility across both time and space. Those in power today seek to pass their liabilities to those in power tomorrow. Every industry seeks to pass the buck to another industry. Who is this magical someone else who will suck up their greenhouse gases?

At the risk of completely demoralizing you, I'll conclude with a photo of  former Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, on the campaign trail sitting in her walker and waving at passing cars. Oh well, she tried. She really tried.


  1. It is indeed hard to hold on to any hope these days, Mound. It is almost as if our species has a collective death wish.

  2. It may be connected in various ways to the decline of civil society, Lorne. Mortal dangers require sacrifice and that can be impossible without high levels of social cohesion. We may wind up at the wrong place at the very worst of times.

    The degenerates, or Morlocks, are surfacing. Imagine blocking ambulance access to hospitals. Bernier's PPC is utterly fascist but cloaks itself in the guise of "freedom." A healthy society keeps these dark forces in check.

    What I fear is that what is today intransigence could grow into subversion.


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