He Was Right Then. He's Right Today.


 

Paris, 2015. The leaders of the community of nations agreed that we had to unite to avert climate catastrophe and that meant keeping global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. It was a moment of celebration and hope.

Among the delegates was an odd-looking German, the then head of the Potsdam Institute, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.  A reporter asked him if we could really do it. Could we keep warming within the 1.5 C target?  He said we could indeed but it would require the "induced implosion" of the fossil energy industry.

What Schellnhuber was saying was that the political caste were not just going to have to bite the hand that feeds them. They were going to have to amputate it. Blow it up. Put it down. That was the key to a transition to clean energy. The fossil fuelers were not going away on their own. 

Earlier this week the BBC reported on a tranche of leaked documents that showed that countries such as Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia were lobbying hard to slow the shift from fossil fuels. These same countries and corporations are expected to pursue delaying options at the Glasgow climate summit.

The Paris summit was six years ago. Since then, despite the Covid pandemic, fossil fuel emissions have increased. There are still many hold outs - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, US Republicans (with some Democrats to boot), Australia, China, India, Poland and Hungary. Even Canada's record is not unblemished.

The clock is running out and just when we need a near universal consensus to do whatever it takes to avert climate catastrophe, the stars are not aligning in our favour. The holdouts are still holding out. 

Earlier this week the US National Intelligence Council released a report on climate change and international responses that threaten US national security through 2040.  Let's just say it was not uplifting.  It suggested some sort of climate Cold War could develop pitting the US against China. Many nations could be critically destabilized.  Fossil fuels, it warned, are here to stay. There's too much invested in them for any induced implosion of the type mentioned by Schellnhuber.

The cooperative breakthrough of the Paris Agreement may be short lived as countries struggle to reduce their emissions and blame others for not doing enough.

Financial needs will grow as the physical effects intensify; the UN estimates that developing countries will need upwards of $300 billion in annual investment by 2030 just to adapt.

The report sees conflicts among smaller countries over water access and migration and major power rivalries that could boil over, especially in the Arctic.

The image they're painting is one of instability and chaos, hardly the attributes required for a global committment to act on a global threat.

Is it possible there'll be some great breakthrough, some global epiphany that emerges from the Glasgow climate summit? Sure. Is it likely? Look at it this way. Glasgow is COP 26, the 26th annual UN climate summit. That's how long we've been kicking this problem down the road.  Now the miraculous consensus reached in Paris in 2015 seems increasingly wobbly.

One idea that's simply off the table is the notion of some induced implosion of the fossil fuel industry. Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas, they're not done with us yet and neither are their political minions.

Comments

  1. Cranky-old-man-rant#5 ...

    Only Greta (and her generation) are likely to fix this. (If it's not too late, alas.)

    I particularly like this story about a tussle in Belgium.

    'climate truancy' is a wonderful term used here. If only the gov't minister wasn't such a fathead, he'd realize exactly who the climate-truants are. It sounds like the kind of geek-speak we get here in Canada from our climate-truant-in-chief.

    "Young people from all over the world are coming together today to strike for the climate. Also in Ghent, the climate movement Youth For Climate calls on young people to take to the streets, and this during school hours. "Because if politicians don't take their responsibility, then we have to," it reads on their Facebook page. Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) previously said that he has asked schools to label 'climate truancy' as an illegal presence. “The question is not: are we truant or not. The question is: do we still take our future seriously?”, said figurehead Anuna De Wever at HLN LIVE."

    "Anuna De Wever on climate march in Ghent: "It makes no sense to sit in schools and get a diploma for a future that does not exist""

    google translate version of
    https://www.hln.be/binnenland/anuna-de-wever-op-klimaatmars-gent-het-heeft-geen-zin-om-in-de-scholen-te-zitten-en-een-diploma-te-halen-voor-een-toekomst-die-er-niet-is~a23d249d/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialsharing_web

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Climate Truancy. That does have a certain right to it, NPoV. Lets hope that finally, just this once, they can get past it and do something to salvage some future.

      Delete
  2. .. batten down the hatches Mound
    A monster headed your way from the East

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. The Demons are stirring, Sal. My small part of the island missed the deluge the other day (we're in the lee of Mount Arrowsmith) but we're told today will be a different story.

      I have my emergency (LED) lanterns ready. Fortunately I have gas hot water and stove and a wood stove/fireplace that can heat my smallish bungalow. And I can't think of a room where I won't find some book I've been waiting to read.

      Delete
  4. Did someone mentioned methane here recently?

    "We've never seen something like this before.
    Huge amounts of methane are leaking out of the basin drained by Jakobshavn glacier. Highest concentrations above the Jakobshavn trough."

    https://pulse.ghgsat.com/?lat=68.90&lng=-49.60&zm=7

    Melting glaciers release more than just H2O it seems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link, NPoV. I've bookmarked it. I had expected to see more methane from Siberia. I was surprised to see the concentrations coming from northern Pakistan and India. Those are mountainous regions. I'll be checking this out in future.

      Delete
  5. . Ulp.. from west of you

    50 miles one way 25000 miles the other!!

    l. My small part of the island missed the deluge the other day (

    Non event around here and I am not so far away.

    If nothing happens tonight and I doubt it will I will not look to the overboard self promoting sensationalising MSM again , not that I take much notice anyway!

    If anything has led to the destruction of the world it is the self promoting "news" media who on one hand offer the ecologic destruction of the world and on the hand offer the breakdown of law , order and above all financial gain!!
    Sad part is , way too many are sucked in.
    Why cannot we see the world s it is?

    TB


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got weather bombed yesterday. I needed to get a couple of things for a dinner I'm preparing. The winds were calm, just a light rain. By the time I got to the store, no more than 15 minutes later. the storm erupted - high winds, torrential rain, truly ugly. I hopped into the store with my shopping list and began gathering veggies. I was halfway done and the power went out. A modern, spacious grocery store without power is an eerie place. Most of us waited to see if the power might come back on until the store staff asked us to just leave our stuff and exit the store.

      Several years ago we had one of these biblical rainstorms. 17 minutes, start to finish. It was like some celestial hand opened a hydrant. The rain was driven in almost horizontally and the direction kept changing. The winds were fierce. There's a CBC clip on YouTube showing cars floating down the main drag. 17 minutes. On/Off. Streets flooded, cars floating.

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