Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

August 2020 Forums General discussion Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

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    The first account of the Climate Change Assembly in action from Green Party Lucas that I have read


    Monbiot on why the setting of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a nonsense:

    Among other things, he says:

    “The 2015 Infrastructure Act introduced a legal duty to “maximise the economic recovery” of petroleum in the UK. If drilling companies fail to maximise their extraction of fossil fuel from an oilfield, they will be forced to surrender their licence to operate. In other words, while the government observes a legal minimum (the CCC’s target) for reducing greenhouse gases, it observes a legal maximum for increasing them.”

    But then he weakly concludes:

    “The CCC’s board should be disbanded and replaced by people whose mandate is rigorously to explore every economic sector in search of the maximum possible cuts in greenhouse gases, and the maximum possible drawdown.”

    Oh dear, oh dear. Unsurprisingly, no mention of capitalism itself needing to go.


    As I said the corporations are intent upon getting the GND off the agenda

    Biden claims “there’s not a single solitary scientist that thinks” the Green New Deal “can work”



    There’s not a single solitary socialist that thinks that either..


    Alas, ALB, there also appears to be not a single scientist that thinks socialism will work, either (at least none who have publicly said so and joined us, AFAIK.)

    But my post was in the context of the watering down of the even ineffectual GND by the so-called “centrist” wing of the Democratic Party as represented by the far more business-friendly Biden.

    As we always point out, the only reforms that succeed are the ones that can be incorporated into the capitalist structure without threatening overall profits. Corporate America believes the GND is a step too far, despite any scientists’ support for it.

    I am, however, very curious about all those apparent pledges of disinvestment in fossil fuels that are being reported, whether these will take place or if finance will simply come from other sources taking the business opportunity to fill the gap in the market. Figures appear to say the world is still awash with cash liquidity so will the cost to fossil fuel industry simply be a bit extra on interest charges and a little more dividends paid out as less green capitalists put this cash to work?

    After all, any morality or ethical concerns about corruption in poverty-stricken countries has never stopped the multinationals from pillaging and plundering through cross-accounting via tax havens. To hell with people literally starving to death as wealth is looted so will the capitalists as a class actually worry about the human cost of more flooding and drought?

    We should keep an eye on it and see what actually transpires in reality. We should try a in-depth analysis (if someone is more versed in the world of stock-market values and banking transactions can take on the task). Put some meat on the bone of our case that capitalism can’t cure the climate crises but only offer some soothing balm to alleviate some of the pain.


    Something you have been saying for a long time, ALB, about alarmism

    “What we’re arguing is that we’ve been misusing the worst climate change scenario,” said author Zeke Hausfather, director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute in California. “Rather than being seen as something that only had a 3% chance of becoming reality, it became known as the “business-as-usual” scenario, by climate scientists and has been used in more than 2,000 research papers since.

    The media, taking their steer from scientists, have tended to use the highest impacts when reporting on projections based on emissions scenarios.

    “The worst-case scenario for emissions of CO2 this century is no longer plausible, say researchers. Referred to as “business as usual”, the scenario assumes a 500% increase in the use of coal, which is now considered unlikely. Climate models suggest that this level of carbon could see warming of up to 6C by 2100, with severe impacts. Researchers say that on current trends, a rise in temperatures of around 3C is far more likely.”

    “So what originally was a sort of worst-case (scenario) with less than 10% chance of happening is today, exceedingly unlikely.”

    Very few scientists realised that RCP8.5 was originally a 90th percentile outcome, not a most likely or business-as-usual outcome. They assumed too much, when they should perhaps have checked, say the authors of the review.
    “At the end of the day, scientists have to take responsibility for what they choose as input data, and there should be a degree of due diligence,” said Glen Peter, from the CICERO Center for International Climate Research in Norway.
    “How many of your average climate scientists know the nuances of RCP8.5? It would certainly be interesting to know.”


    “I don’t think we can rule out a world of four degrees or above, because of these uncertainties in climate sensitivity and the uncertainties in carbon cycle feedbacks,” said Zeke Hausfather.  “So even under a lower emission scenario, you could have higher sea level rise, higher warming impacts, if climate sensitivity ends up being on the high end.”


    That’s right. A lot depends on “climate sensitivity” (crudely, the degree by which average global temperature rises as a result of more CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere) but this is not much more than a guestimate. So the assumptions on which scientists base their calculation about global warming could just as well be on the high side as the low. The trouble is very few of us on the forum, if any,  are going to be around to find out which.


    Is the end of fossil fuels in sight? Is divestment working?

    As I asked earlier, will there be alternative financing from less “ethical” investors?

    Certainly tobacco has not seriously been affected in decades of “boycotting” – but at a cost of having to pay plenty in dividends if this total novice at reading the stock market reads the data right.



    Revealing quote from President Bolsonaro of Brazil in this article (about how even “progressive” governments in Latin America, as in Venezuela and Bolivia, have been forced to cut down forests by capitalist pressures):

    If we continue with protected areas and indigenous regions, agribusiness ends in Brazil and if agribusiness ends, so does our economy.”

    Under capitalism, this is a perfectly logical position for a state to take: agribusiness is profitable and taxing it brings in money for the state, therefore it must be protected and allowed to continue and expand. As is his statement to the UN General Assembly in September that:

    “It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind.”

    Agreed, it is a fallacy. The Amazon is not the heritage of humankind but it should be, only it never will be under capitalism.

    Also, in Brazil, it seems to be like in the US. They put Amerindians on reservations but when the land is required to make a profit they want to kick them off it.


    Our blog posted about Morales complicity in deforestation, high-lighting his land-grab policies, despite he himself being of indigenous origin.

    As for Bolsonaro, he is simply pointing out the inherent weakness of any global climate change plan…the issue of national sovereignty over resources and vested interests.


    As indicated earlier, i’m intending to focus more on investment decisions re-climate change

    “Goldman Sachs downgraded its stock assessment for ExxonMobil, advising investors to sell their shares of the oil and gas giant.
    The Wall Street firm changed its “neutral” rating to “sell” following its fourth quarter earnings reports which showed Exxon’s earnings falling from $6 billion in 2018 to $5.6 billion last year.
    The firm found no “compelling case” for holding on to Exxon’s stocks, according to CNBC, and advised investors that “more compelling returns opportunities exist both among the global majors and global large cap stocks outside of energy.” Goldman Sachs predicted that Exxon will meet just half of its targeted returns by 2025.
    The firm’s prediction is just the latest indication that the financial sector and other profit-driven entities are beginning to see fossil fuels as an impractical investment.”

    Certainly not a “moral” case




    The Green New Deal


    The Committee on Climate Change, which advises government, says: “A number of groups have called for net zero to be accelerated to 2025, 2030 or 2040. Achieving net zero significantly earlier than 2050 in our modelling exceeds even our most speculative measures, with rates of change for power, heat and road transport that push against the bounds of plausibility.”

    The UK cannot go climate neutral much before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat almost completely.

    The UK can cut emissions fast enough to be climate neutral by 2050 – but only if ministers act much more quickly. The government urgently needs to invest in three key technologies: carbon capture and storage with bioenergy crops; hydrogen for a wide variety of uses; and advanced nuclear power. Scenarios rely on some technologies still in their infancy, which will be controversial. For instance, it draws heavily on burning energy crops, capturing the carbon emissions and burying them underground. It says hydrogen use will need to grow to supply industry, heat and heavy transport. Electricity generation will need to double with heavy reliance on solar power and offshore wind. Some experts will be critical of the report’s expectation that new technologies such as carbon capture and storage will be rapidly adopted.

    It calls for small, modular nuclear reactors to support three-quarters of heating in cities through district heating systems. Modular reactors are much smaller than conventional reactors, and brought to a site in a kit of parts to be assembled.

    Livestock production for dairy and meat may need to be cut by 50% rather than the 20% currently envisaged by the Committee on Climate Change. And people will need to eat less meat and dairy by the same amount.

    The report’s author, Scott Milne, said: “Whichever pathway the UK takes, innovation, investment and inducements across low-carbon technology, land use and lifestyle are essential to achieve net zero.

    the report warns that the public do not appear ready for substantial lifestyle changes. It warns, for instance, that if people’s homes are better insulated, they may choose to spend the same amount on heating to deliver a warmer home.

    It says: “Early evidence suggests a general willingness to adopt new technologies (such as new heating or mobility) as long as these can deliver the same experiences as before.”

    “Conversely, approaching the subject of dietary change or aviation often elicits a more resistant and emotional response.”

    The report was not welcomed by the National Beef Association.

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