Progress on climate, or not?
A SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS REGARDING THE CLIMATE CRISIS
To keep it short, I’ve not provided any references here — but can easily do so.
1. The science is beyond reasonable doubt.
Persistent deniers, therefore, are motivated by fear and/or selfishness.
The best forward projections we have are for between +2.4 and +2.7oC above pre-industrial before 2100 — and that’s assuming that nations fulfill their COP pledges. If not, we’re heading for well over +3oC and possibly much more.
2. Climate-related damage to primary industries and vital infrastructure, along with mass migration, will severely damage the global economy, wreck the fabric of society and cause conflict.
3. Most people are aware, in a general sense, of the climate crisis. But they have little or no idea how serious the climate crisis is, or how quickly it’ll play out. And many people are utterly desperate NOT to know.
4. Therefore, right now, few people are willing to make any real lifestyle changes to lower their carbon emissions.
5. In just about every nation, the overwhelmingly dominant world-view is simply this: a religious faith in endless GDP growth.
Mainstream politicians make a living as priests of that religion. Faced with the climate crisis, their message has changed from ‘growth’ to ‘green growth’. It’s a fantasy. Earth does not have the resources (especially strategic minerals) needed for a high-tech ‘green- growth’ solution.
6. Low-carbon economy? We need a low-ENERGY economy.
7. In democracies, our adversarial parliamentary system rewards quick-witted answers, point-scoring and simplistic thinking, rather than mature reflection, science literacy and genuine leadership.
8. Therefore our political system is utterly inadequate for a challenge like this. Short-termism and corporate lobbying render it useless. Politicians may privately accept that there’s a crisis, but their public stance reflects paralysis, denial and/or delusional greenwashing.
9. Mass protest and nonviolent direct action has already highlighted the crisis. It worked for Gandhi, Mandela, BLM, MeToo, and the suffragists. It’s essential. But it’s not enough, and it tends to polarise society and to mobilise counter demos (e.g. the current ill-informed and stupidly anarchic ‘freedom’ protests).
10. Appeals to the fundamental goodness of human nature are counterproductive. Why? because while most people are decent and constructive, their major focus is on their own well-being and that of their family.
11. We’re all climate hypocrites. Some more than others of course….But we MIGHT possibly act once we understand that, in the developed world, our lifestyle is in ecological overshoot and is thus wrecking our kids’ future.
12. Politicians will only respond to strong public demand. Therefore we need to make this clear to people: Your kids’ future is at stake.
13. Lawsuits may be a key avenue for progress.
14. Let’s be honest — with around +2.4oC already locked in, WE’RE NOT GOING TO WIN THIS.
But not surrendering is vital: +2.4oC is ‘better’ than ≥ +4oC
15. If all the individuals who said “There’s nothing one person can do” got together and did something, we might get somewhere.
That goes for institutions, communities, and nations too.
Time is short.