Make 2015 a climate year – on our way to Paris

We cannot continue the irresponsible habits we have now. Our house is on fire, and our leaders – the politicians – respond by squabbling about who shall pay for using the fire extinguisher .

The more we delay, the more we will pay. Climate change is accelerating and human activities are the principal cause, as documented in a series of authoritative scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The effects are already widespread, costly and consequential — to agriculture, water resources, human health, and ecosystems on land and in the oceans. Climate change poses sweeping risks for economic stability and the security of nations. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General, United Nations: Now Is the Time to Act on Climate Change  |  UN on climate change | Mary Robinson, UN Envoy: Climate Agenda Makes 2015 the ‘Most Important Year Since 1945’  |   Climate change more catastrophic for the global economy than we thought  |

Update of the GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) global temperature analysis (GISTEMP) finds 2014 to be the warmest year in the instrumental record… The 15 warmest years all occurred since 1998  Climate science, awareness and solutions  |  NOAA 2014 recap | 2014 warmest year – NASA |   2014 breaks heat record (NYT Jan 2015) |  Guardian |  Long-Awaited ‘Jump’ In Global Warming Now Appears ‘Imminent’  (April 2015)  | World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns  | 2015 Hottest Year to Date, Could Top 2014 Record  |

“With an apparent cruel twist of fate, my country is being tested by this hellstorm called Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has been described by experts as the strongest typhoon that has ever made landfall in the course of recorded human history”. Ye Sano, Lead negotiator for Philippines at UN Climate Summit in Warsaw, 2013

For the world to meet its climate goals, a third of the world’s oil, half its gas and 80% of its coal must stay underground”  Leave most fossil fuels in the ground, or fry (Ecologist, Jan 2015)

“Mitigation- taking strong action to reduce emissions – must be viewed as an investment, a cost incurred now and in the coming decades to avoid the risks of very severe consequences in the future. If these investments are made wisely, the costs will be manageable, and there will be a wide range of opportunities for growth and development along the way”. Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change,  (2006).  |  The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate: The New Climate Economy  |  IEA World Energy Outlook 2015 | IEA’s Bombshell Warning: We’re Headed Toward 11°F Global Warming and “Delaying Action Is a False Economy” |  We absolutely can have economic growth and protect the climate at the same timePollution could kill 6.6m people a year by 2050 (Sept 2015)   |
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“Development of (fossil fuel) resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C” The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C, – Nature Jan 2015

The task of promoting human development, ending poverty, increasing global prosperity, and reducing global inequality will be very challenging in a 2°C world, but in a 4°C world there is serious doubt whether this can be achieved at all. Immediate steps are needed to help countries adapt to the climate impacts being felt today and the unavoidable consequences of a rapidly warming world. The benefits of strong, early action on climate change — action that follows clean, low carbon pathways and avoids locking in unsustainable growth strategies — far outweigh the costs.  Turn down the heat – World Bank Nov 2014  |  Decarbonising development (World Bank 2015)  |  End Fossil Fuel Subsidies Now and Start Carbon Tax, Urges World Bank Chief |  World Bank rejects energy industry notion that coal can cure poverty  |  Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF   |

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Kullkraftverk - en trussel mot framtiden

Fossil energy a threat to our common future

Action Now!

The fossil fuel era can be dismantled within less than two decades.
Three measures:

  1. 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 .  “With oil likely to remain cheap for some time, oil-importing countries should lower or even eliminate fuel subsidies and rebuild the fiscal space needed to carry out future stimulus efforts” World Bank 2015  | Make fossil fuel industry pay for the real costs  |  The Real Story Behind the Oil Price Collapse (March 2015)  |   How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies? (IMF working paper May 2015) |  Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF   | End Fossil Fuel Subsidies Now and Start Carbon Tax, Urges World Bank Chief
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  2. 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! | Proof That a Price on Carbon Works (Jan 2016)   | Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative of a Carbon Fee and Dividend  | Hansen, J. (2015) Golden opportunity
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  3. Divest! Invest your savings in the sunrise industry of renewable energy. Remove your money from the sunset fossil fuels industry.  All responsible governments must ensure that the current fossil fuel industry subsidies are transferred to renewables to speed up the ongoing process.  |  Go fossil fuel free. Divest! |  Stanford professors urge withdrawal from fossil fuel investments Jan 2015 | The Social Cost of Carbon  | 2015 – the fossil fuel endgame begins |  The Great Deflation – the carbon bubble slowly popping (Jan 2015) |  Global divestment day  | IEA 2015: Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014 |  The Big Reason Why America Is Turning to Renewable Energy  | Bill McKibben: The Turning Point Towards a Low-Carbon Future (Aug 2015)   |  Leonardo DiCaprio Joins $2.6 Trillion Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement | Don’t Let Wall Street Leave You Behind: It’s Time to Divest From Fossil Fuels  (Oct 2015)   |

money

Fossil fuel propaganda and deniers delay responsible action

Climate deniers have as mission to confuse and create uncertainty. The point is to create decision-makers’ paralysis in order for business to continue as usual: trillions in subsidies from the world’s taxpayers, socialization of losses, privatization of profits in the coal- and oil industry. Externalization of costs is set in system by the international fossil industry.

To draw attention away from the elephant in the room, the deniers keep creating quasi-scientific discussions about the Pope’s beard. They keep running around screaming and pointing to mouse droppings in the corner and flies in the window. But the elephant keeps standing there, and more and more see it. It is pitch black and very threatening. It consists of the fact that we daily burn over 90 million barrels of oil and an equivalent amount of coal and gas. In addition we destroy rainforests at an amazing speed.

One barrel of oil equals 159 litres, roughly a full bathtub. This corresponds to 14 310 000 000 litres of oil every day. Every day we burn a corresponding additional amount of coal and gas. If we add the coal, oil and gas, it corresponds to burning over 300 000 litres of oil, or an olympic sized swimming pool filled with oil every second, 24/7 year round. One should be keen on illusions to believe that this has no negative effects.

An increasing number of people now prefer realities to illusions, and start taking action:

Engineers take the lead

“It has become more urgent than ever to face up to the threats of climate change”

        Energy storage

Economists take the lead

“The financial costs linked to climate change represent the biggest threat to the global economy, according to Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz”

The delayed implementation of the Short lived climate pollutants (SLCP) control measures presented in the Time to Act publication could have negative consequences on temperature rise. Due to the relatively short lifetimes of SLCPs climate benefits could be achieved quickly after mitigation of emissions.

The delayed implementation of the Short lived climate pollutants (SLCP) control measures presented in the Time to Act publication could have negative consequences on temperature rise. Due to the relatively short lifetimes of SLCPs climate benefits could be achieved quickly after mitigation of emissions. (GRID-Arendal graphics)

Religious leaders take the lead

“We can no longer tinker about the edges, We can no longer continuing treating our addiction to fossil fuels as if there were no tomorrow, or there will be no tomorrow.” (D.Tutu)

Insurers take the lead

“…it is important to place a strong emphasis on managing climate change, rather than simply responding passively to it.” (Munich re)

Lawyers take the lead

“If this nation relies on a stable climate system, and the very habitability of this nation and all of the liberties of young people and their survival interests are at stake, the courts need to force the agencies and the legislatures to simply do their job.” (M. Wood)

Architects take the lead

Ordinary people and grandparents take the lead

Grandparents Climate Campaign  regards global warming as the greatest ethical challenge of our times and a matter of intergenerational justice. GCC’s aim is to contribute to securing a planet for coming generations in ecological harmony. This necessitates reduction of our dependency on fossil resources, and a speedier conversion to greener energy

Cities taking the lead

Aspen, Colorado, hasn’t just pledged to go 100 percent renewable for its electricity supply, it has pledged to do so by 2015

Businesses taking the lead

B Corps are better companies – better for workers, better for communities and better for the environment.

Politicians taking the lead?

“Time is running out. The more we delay, the more we will pay. Climate change is accelerating and human activities are the principal cause” B.K.Moon

Military taking the lead?

The U.S. military refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of today’s challenges – from infectious disease to terrorism. (Defence secr. Hagel)

Energy companies trying to change?

Some countries, municipalities and states take the lead

Lots of poorer countries may be gearing up to largely skip fossil fuel reliance in favor of renewables

Agriculturalists taking the lead

Health workers raising concerns

 Scientists take the lead

Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems

…and of course: the petro tyrants,carbon barons and extreme hegemonists fight back

Why the haste? What’s urgent?

Source: Cowtan and Way Annual temperature variations are variations in weather. Climate is average parameters over 30 years. Focusing on one year is unscientific cherry-picking. The last three decades have seen a clear warming trend, despite low solar activity.

Source: Cowtan and Way
Annual temperature variations are variations in weather. Climate is average parameters over 30 years. Focusing on one year is unscientific cherry-picking. The last three decades have seen a clear warming trend, despite low solar activity.

Oil driven technology, Qatar Photo: Å. Bjørke

Oil driven technology – desalination in Qatar
Photo: Å. Bjørke

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.

About svenaake

University Teacher.
This entry was posted in Environment, Fossil fuels, Sustainable development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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