WHETHER we want to admit it or not, climate breakdown is already upon us: there are record-breaking heat waves, flash floods, wildfires. Climate change does not cause all of these things to happen, it amplifies them. This is not happening in some far-off place, it is the weather where you are. If we read the science and we acknowledge climate breakdown to be true, what is our response? What does it really mean to face up to our climate reality? It’s so easy to put our heads in the sand and make exceptions for ourselves and for our families. Because we work hard. Because we deserve it. Because everyone else is doing it. Many people would appear to be continuing to live as normal – driving cars, taking international flights for work or holidays, contributing to shipping and aircraft emissions through the purchasing of goods online. The reality is that “normal life” – a privilege we in the West have enjoyed for the past 70 years or so – cannot continue. The Scottish Government’s recent net zero target by 2045 is ambitious, but it does not go anywhere near far enough; the Government’s own official climate change advisers have warned that there’s a “substantial gap” between the ambition and the lack of policy to deliver it. In my experience at professional events or conferences, while “climate change” is almost always acknowledged, conversations continue as if “business as usual” is an option. It’s not. OVER the past year I have been working with a collective of activists called Enough!, a Scottish response to our global social, economic and ecological crises. We see that our current economic system and climate crisis are fundamentally linked. We see that inequality, oppression, injustice, power and ecological breakdown are all connected by the same story: that the economy must keep growing – no what matter what the cost. The deep logic of capitalism is to grow more capital, achieved through the processes of exploitation, accumulation and extraction: “We’re already taking far more than can be replaced and we can see the consequences all around us: climate change, deforestation, soil depletion, perpetual war, mass extinction of species. It has got so bad that we are threatening the very basis of all of life itself … We have a choice to make: prioritise growth, or prioritise life. We can’t do both.”
The National 14th July 2019 read more »
Nick Butler: The energy transition is stalling. The world is burning more coal than ever before. Oil and gas consumption is increasing. Last year, hydrocarbons accounted for more than 80 per cent of total energy consumption – the same percentage (of a bigger absolute number) as 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Investment in renewables such as wind and solar has flatlined and greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. As a result we are on track, on the best available scientific evidence, for an increase in temperatures averaging not 1.5C or 2C but 3C or 4C by 2100. There is already visible evidence of the impact of climate change, such as the melting of the Arctic ice, which is opening up northern trade routes including the Northwest Passage. For the organisations pushing for action to limit climate change these facts should trigger not despair but rather a fundamental strategic review of their approach. Having raised public consciousness the campaigners need to start providing practical answers. The strategic challenge for organisations such as Greenpeace is to escape from old paradigms and become instead the source of better choices and solutions. Consumers are not wedded to existing energy sources. They want low-cost, low-carbon energy along with the equipment that allows them to use it. Technology is moving quickly and would do so even faster if stimulated by mass demand – as with mobile phones. Instead of simply acting as critics, Greenpeace and the other serious NGOs should move into the marketplace and build partnerships that offer us all sustainable choices. “Greenpeace Energy” has a ring to it. A new green business would be a hugely disruptive force in a market that is ripe for change.
FT 15th July 2019 read more »
The UK will stop hiding its “true impact” on the climate by revealing its consumption of carbon emissions from across the world, Jeremy Corbyn was due to pledge on Sunday. In an attempt to place his party at the forefront of the battle against the climate crisis, the Labour leader was due to say, is “even greater than we think” and demands an end to “passing the buck to poorer countries”. Corbyn is due to announce that the next Labour government will “show true international leadership” by making the country the first major economy to measure the emissions it imports, as well as those it produces. The UK currently only measures its production of carbon emissions. Labour would amend the Climate Change Act to instruct the Committee on Climate Change to include an assessment of our “total footprint emissions” in their annual report to parliament.
Observer 14th July 2019 read more »
Rebecca Willis: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) oversees progress, but other departments have no carbon targets or responsibilities, and BEIS cannot tell them what to do. Neither are there targets or responsibilities for local areas. The Committee on Climate Change can offer advice, but the route between this advice and policy delivery is, to put it politely, unclear. This results in some serious contradictions. Transport results in a quarter of the UK’s emissions, yet the Department for Transport’s strategic plan, published just last month, fails to mention climate action as a key driver.
The Conversation 11th July 2019 read more »