Ban Ki-Moon invites the world to a climate summit for action in 2014. The UN needs popular support for this quest. Let’s be realistic and demand the “impossible”.
Bill McKibben calls for action: A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change, in his latest Rolling Stone article May 2014. Join the big event in New York 20 September: http://peoplesclimate.org/march/
The fossil fuel era can be dismantled within less than two decades. Three measures:
- All subsidies and special tax deals for the fossil fuel industry are removed globally. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) should get full support on this point. The IMF envisions substantial economic and environmental advantages .
- Put a 10% carbon fee on fossil fuels. 100% revenue distribution of the money to the public in equal shares as direct payments. The fee would start at $10/ton of CO2 and increase $10/ton each year; 100% of the revenue is returned to households, equal amounts to all legal residents. This approach spurs the economy, increasing the number of jobs by 2.1 million in 10 years. Emissions decrease 33% in 10 years, 52% in 20 years. Hansen, J. (2014) Too little, too late? Oops? Carbon tax!
- The current fossil fuel industry subsidies transferred to renewables to speed up the ongoing process.
One thing is for sure – we cannot continue the irresponsible habits we have now. We have to get out of the fossil fuel age for several reasons.
- Fossil fuels are far too costly when you include the real and hidden costs. According to the IMF, fossil fuels are subsidised by USD 2 trillion per year. We must end this global regime of perverse subsidies to the multibillionaires.
IMF Experts and Others Envision a World without Energy Subsidies. || It’s time to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry || Oil, coal and gas disasters that are costing us all (February 2014) || Tutu, D. (2014) We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet || Dietz, S. & Stern, M. (2014) Endogenous growth, convexity of damages and climate risk (Grantham work paper) ||
- Fossil fuels are far too polluting, and destroy the air for billions of people.
Millions die every year because of air pollution. In addition comes the enormous land areas polluted by oil spills as in Nigeria, Canada and Baku. In the USA fracking pollutes incredible amounts of freshwater.
Worldwide Air Pollution Deaths Per Year Number Over 2 Million || Smog in Asia || City of light dims: smog in Paris (March 2014) || WHO: 7 million deaths annually linked to air pollution (March 2014) || The toxic truth about air pollution: a lethal scandal of British inaction (April 2014) || China’s Air Pollution Behind Erratic Weather in the U.S., say Climatologists (April 2014) || Four Years After The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, The Gulf Is Still Suffering (April 2014) || Almost Half of Americans Live With Unhealthy Levels of Air Pollution (April 2014) || Urban air is getting so dirty, 7 out of 8 people breathe air that fails to meet WHO safe levels || Joining together to fight fracking || The fight for clean air ||
- Profits from fossil fuels are controlled by a handful of multibillionaires: the biggest petro exporters are Russia’s president Putin and the extreme Islamist regimes in the Middle East, like the Saudi Arabia royal family (Aramco) and other wahabbists in Qatar, Kuwait, Emirates, Uzbekistan and ayatollah regimes in Iran, Iraq etc. Other profiteers of similar calibre are the princelings in the communist party of China, controlling the gargantuan Sinopec, CNOOC and Petrochina.
In the USA you find the Koch brothers who make billions every year on fossil fuels, and who, in collaboration with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Fox news and others, finance an enormous propaganda machinery to protect the interests of the carbon barons. In turn they have close relations with petro tyrants in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
In addition you have the OPEC family of oil exporters, most or all ruled by corrupt petro tyrants. All these are closely associated to carbon barons in western big oil companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and of course with oil and gas giant Gazprom, Rosneft etc.
A continued coal-and oil age will transfer power from ordinary people to these regimes and big corporations, ensuring an increasing number of financial crises, wars, terrorists, corpocracy rather than democracy and prolong regimes of extreme corruption and tyrannies all over the world. Since most big newspaper editors are vulnerable to superfunded petro lobbyists, a continued fossil fuel age is the biggest threat to democracy ever.
Climate change in facts and figures . || Coal Industry Report On Social Cost Of Carbon Relies On Climate Science Denial || The Mainstream Media’s Criminal Climate Coverage || A Secret Trade Deal So Outrageous That Congress Isn’t Even Allowed To Talk About It Publicly || There Are No Human Rights on a Dead Planet || Vladimir Putin Is The New Global Shah Of Oil (Forbes , April 2014) || The 1% in America Are Turning into a Ruling Oligarchy at an Astonishing Pace || TEDxPentagon – Rear Admiral David Titley, USN – Climate Change || “Climate Change War” Is Not a Metaphor || Now That Solar Capacity Is Soaring—Koch Brothers Demand Tax on the Sun || RTCC (2014) Carter slams Koch brothers for funding climate denial || Al Gore crushes it in Abu Dhabi presentation (May 2014) || Suzuki – Get real on climate change (1) | The war on climate scientists (2) || 11 Things The Koch Brothers Don’t Want You To Know, From Robert Greenwald’s Newly Updated Documentary || Koch Bros exposed 2014 ||
- Global warming and climate change due to extra fossil CO2 to the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion will within the next decades lead to tremendous loss of lives due to more extreme weather, prolonged droughts and floods, rising sea levels and tsunamis of refugees. It is the initial forcing due to fossil carbon that ensures change. The feedback loops, with more atmospheric water vapor, methane from clathrates, soot from more forest fires, less albedo from melting glaciers etc decide the scope of change. The enhanced greenhouse effect the coming decades may jeopardise our economies and agricultural production in general. Large parts of the world’s ecosystems will be depleted, and many species will become extinct. We are running a very real risk of approaching an extermination disaster comparable to the one that took place during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 55 million years ago.
Two or three degrees more – does it really matter?.. || IPCC (2013) Climate change. The physical science basis || The Grantham institute on the climate and the environment || NOAA: Global Analysis – Annual 2014 || NASA: 2013 Continues Long-Term Warming Trend (Jan 2014) || Cowtan and Way (2014): Surface temperature data update || Climate Change Is ‘Perhaps The World’s Most Fearsome Weapon Of Mass Destruction’ (Feb 2014) || National Academies: A Discussion on Climate Change: Evidence and Causes (March 2014) || AAAS 2014: What we know || NOAA: Recent global monthly mean CO2 || Keeling curve || NASA scientists react to 400 ppm carbon milestone || World Running Out Of Time To Stop Global Warming, UN Report Says (April 2014) ||.AAAS (2014) What we know || NASA (2014) Long-Term Warming Likely to Be Significant Despite Recent Slowdown || Climate Science Systems (2014) Solution to cloud riddle reveals hotter future || Jamall, D. (2014) Evidence of Acceleration of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption on All Fronts || New IPCC report calls for 300-400% more zero-CO2 energy by 2050 to avoid catastrophic warming || CU 2014 Global sea level rise time series || Global warming – fact or fiction? David Bromwich at TEDxColumbus || Nature (2014) Carbon is forever || U.S. Climate Has Already Changed, Study Finds, Citing Heat and Floods (May 2014) || Florida in the eye of the storm of climate change (NYT May 2014) || AAAS (May 2014) Climate Change: ‘Abrupt,’ ‘Unpredictable,’ ‘Irreversible’ and ‘Highly Damaging’ || NYT (May 2014) U.S. Climate Has Already Changed, Study Finds, Citing Heat and Floods || West Antarctic ice sheet falling apart (NYT, May 2014) || New Studies Suggest Many Coastal Cities Will Be Abandoned with Antarctic Ice Collapse (May 2014) ||| A note on collapse || National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (May 2014) || NASA: scientific consensus || The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate || 2014: Will It Be The Hottest Year Ever? || 6 Ways Climate Change Is Ruining Summer for Everyone ||
- The 35 billion tonnes of extra CO2 emitted annually to our common atmosphere, entails a very serious acidification of our oceans, jeopardising all future sea bio production. Warmer oceans also entails serious sea level rise, in turn threatening coastal areas world wide. Ocean acidification || Global carbon emissions set to reach record 36 billion tonnes in 2013 (Tyndall centre) || Ocean acidification fact sheet || Life With rising seas ||
- Fossil fuels are far too dominating as energy sources in many countries, making entire populations vulnerable to armed conflicts, peak oil and political instability. Oil exporting countries relying more or less exclusively on oil as income source, risk huge price fluctuations and “Dutch disease”. Think “peak oil” is a discredited idea? Think again || Oil economy bubbles? || Why the Oil Industry is Running Into Major Trouble || The shale bubble – shale gas as saviour is just wishful thinking || New Energy Report from I.E.A. Forecasts Decline in North American Oil Supply || US shale boom is over, energy revolution needed to avert blackouts || US energy agency cuts Monterey shale oil estimate by 96% |
- Realities dictate that less than a quarter of the already established reserves can be used. When an increasing number of governments decarbonise their economies and cut emissions to limit global warming and other damages to our ecosystems, the fossil fuel industry’s coal, oil and gas reserves must remain unburned. Many of the sources will be “stranded assets”, creating a large financial risk for those with stakes in fossil fuels. As the big, old and cheap oil wells dry out the coming two decades, the oil industry will remain with marginal or unconventional sources. These sources are expensive to run, and the profit margins small and vulnerable. Avoid the carbon bubble. Divest from fossil fuels now! || Rent in a Warming World || Universities Must End Financial Ties to Climate Denying Fossil-Fuel Giants – Now || The limits to existence – aligning economics and thermodynamics || Hansen, J. (2014) Too little, too late? Oops? Carbon tax! ||
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- The Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) formula is tough. Hundred years ago you could get 100 barrels of oil for the investment of one barrel. In the marginal and unconventional oil fields you now might approach as little as 2 to one. The global fossil fuel industry depends on unconventional sources. Without these, demands cannot be met, and the system would unravel. The fossil fuel industry is therefore quickly becoming obsolete. The future car technology belongs to cars like Tesla. The future car will have the entire body as a battery and solar charger. The future homes will produce more energy than they use. Investing in oil is now becoming comparable to investing in desk telephones and landlines and in gas guzzlers in the 1980s. Ask people in Detroit what they now think about that kind of investments. Remove the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, make them pay for the negative externalities, add a small carbon tax at the source, and very few fossil fuel sources, none of the unconventional ones, would be profitable. The regions choosing to prolong the sunset fossil fuel society will gradually become stagnant, backwards, non-innovative societies, somewhat parallel to the Soviet union states twenty years ago, with their polluting Trabant technology, while the regions choosing sunrise technology will be the dynamic winners. The sustainable society of 2040 || Climate Panel Stunner: Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap — But Only If We Act Now ||
- The oil economy tends to favour the extremely rich to the economical detriment of the poor and middle-income classes. Oil economies inevitably lead to extremely unequal distribution of prosperity: more multibillionaires, less middle class, more poor and homeless people. With a few caveats, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman might have a point in his “First law of petropolitics“: In a petroleum-producing country with weak infrastructure, when oil prices rise, democratic forces will lose, freedom “will be curtailed, education underfunded, human development retarded’. “The second law of petropolitics” goes like this: “you cannot be an effective foreign policy realist or an effective democracy-promoting idealist without also being an effective energy-saving environmentalist.” The latest Oxfam report on inequalities describes increasing capital accumulation on very few hands: Working for the Few – Political capture and economic inequality || Capitalism vs Democracy (NYT Jan 2014) || Danson, C. (2014) A Renewed Discourse on Inequality || Nasa-funded Study: Industrial Civilization Headed for ‘Irreversible Collapse’ Due to Inequality, Exploitation || Are Oil Companies 21st Century Slaveowners? || 9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact ||
- Reckless and desperate attempts at halting the global warming through irresponsible forms of geo-engineering, may lead to even more freaky and extreme weather and harm our common ecosystems. | Geo-engineering watch ||
- Renewable technologies without the above mentioned problems are available. The sustainable society is more resilient, safer and socially cohesive than the fossil fuel society.
The Solar Industry Has Been Waiting 60 Years For This To Happen — And It Finally Just Did (April 2014) || The future sustainable society || Green economy || Solar wins || Solar Power for the Global Masses: The Next Revolution (May 2014) ||| U.N. Climate Panel Highlights Lack Of Action On Rising Temperatures || 100% sun, wind, and water can power each U.S. state and the world –Stanford study || Moors, K. (2014) Has Solar Power Finally Arrived? || Bill Gates (2014) on climate change and energy || The U.S. Navy Just Announced The End Of Big Oil And No One Noticed (April 2014) || Germany Sets New Record, Generating 74 Percent Of Energy Needs From Renewable Energy (May 2014) || Worldwide Renewable Energy Jobs Hit Almost 6.5 Million In 2013 || Philips (2014) The Red Hot Renewable That Could Incite A Green Power Revolution – geothermal energy || Barclays downgrades entire US electric utility sector (May 2014) || Investing in renewable energy || Focus fusion to empower the world || Methanehydrates (clathrates ) || A climate rescue plan || Report: A Carbon Tax That Would Create Jobs, Cut Emissions and Put Money in Your Pocket || New Discovery Promises a Future of Cheap, Ubiquitous Solar Power || The future is a desert, but we can make it bloom || UK and Germany break solar power records (June 2014) || Climate action could spur $2 trillion in economic growth in 2030 alone || Hans Rosling – 200 years of global change (2013) ||
Transfer the coal and oil subsidies to renewable energy, and within two to three decades, the present irresponsible and unethical paradigm of reckless greed will be gone, and a new and much better sustainable society will develop.
The risks of continuing our experiments with climate and fossil fuel dependency are enormous. The risks of transforming our societies to a responsible, low-polluting, sustainable and resilient society are negligible, while the gains are a much better and safer society for all.