Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

May 2021 Forums General discussion Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

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    Just thought of a stunt, Alan, for the Cop 26 meeting in Glasgow whenever it is. How about placards and t-shirts saying SYSTEM CHANGE NOT LIFESTYLE CHANGE . That’ll get them thinking and wondering.


    As in China, Italy’s air pollution is fast disappearing as the pause in industry takes effect due to Covid-19

    In China CO2 emissions fell by a quarter, or an estimated 200 million tonnes in the four weeks to March 1 – about half the amount Britain emits in a year.

    The European Space Agency said it had observed a particularly marked decline in emissions of nitrogen dioxide, a noxious gas emitted by power plants, cars and factories, over the Po Valley region in northern Italy.
    Evidence that when the urgency is recognised about dealing with the climate emergency, mitigating action can have almost an immediate result and the world won’t crumble around us.


    An article supporting the above post

    The Coronavirus Pandemic Proves That We Can Overcome the Climate Crisis—If We Want To

    “…it is possible for nations to significantly reduce vehicular and power plant emissions, which would result in better air quality and a lessening of other global warming gases, specifically carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is the primary driver of climate change. Of course, that would also mean a reduction in productivity, which would impact the economy… It’s highly unlikely since we don’t treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as we have done with the coronavirus pandemic…”


    Jem Bendell, a professor in sustainable leadership at the University of Cumbria, is the author of an academic article, Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, which has become the closest thing to a manifesto for a generation of self-described “climate doomers”. In it, he argues that it is too late for us to avoid “the inevitability of societal collapse” caused by climate change. Instead, we are facing a “near-term” breakdown of civilisation – near-term meaning within about a decade.

    But Bendell’s stark predictions have been dismissed by prominent climate scientists. Prof Michael Mann, one of the world’s most renowned, describes Bendell’s paper as “pseudo-scientific nonsense”.

    “To me, the Bendell paper is a perfect storm of misguidedness and wrongheadedness,” Mann says. “It is wrong on the science and its impacts. There is no credible evidence that we face ‘inevitable near-term collapse’.”
    What’s more, Mann claims, Bendell’s “doomist framing” is “disabling” and will “lead us down the very same path of inaction as outright climate change denial. Fossil fuel interests love this framing.” Bendell is, he says, “a poster child for the dangerous new strain of crypto-denialism”.

    Myles Allen, professor of Geosystem Science at the University of Oxford says, “Predictions of societal collapse in the next few years as a result of climate change seem very far-fetched,” “So far, the system’s responded to greenhouse gas emissions almost exactly as predicted. So to say it’s about to change and become much worse is speculation. Honestly this kind of material is at the level of science of the anti-vax campaign.”

    Allen agrees with Mann that the paper’s pessimism is liable to make people feel powerless. “Lots of people are using this kind of catastrophism to argue that there’s no point in reducing emissions,” he says.


    “With global emissions continuing to rise, and no signs that the Paris targets will be respected, Jem Bendell has some justification in taking the strong position that it is already too late and we’d better prepare to deal with the collapse of the globalised economic system,” says Prof Will Steffen, from Australia’s Climate Change Council. “Jem may, in fact, be ‘ahead of the game’ in warning us about what we might need to prepare for.”

    He adds that there is a “credible risk” that even a 2C rise in global average temperatures above pre-industrial levels could initiate a “a tipping cascade… taking our climate system out of our control and on to a Hothouse Earth state”.

    “I can’t say for sure that Jem Bendell is right… but we certainly can’t rule it out.”


    Anti-climate-change activists should be careful about pointing to the fall in greenhouse gas emissions because of the decline in economic activity brought about by measures to defeat the coronavirus as confirmation of their case.

    It’s, rather, a reason why, as long as people support capitalism, the drastic measures that they call for to stave off too rapid global warming will not be taken.

    The ILO is warning that up to 25 million workers worldwide could lose their jobs as a result of these measures. No government nor the population of any country is going to accept this or that these measures should be made permanent.  But under capitalism that would be the only way to stop economic growth fuelling global warming. It’s not going to happen politically as long as people see no other way of organising production and distribution than capitalism and its production for profit.

    This reinforces our view that the only framework within which the problem can be rationally tackled is the common ownership and democratic control of means of living and the production directly for us it will make possible.


    No doubt the emissions in places where they have dropped will rise again when business steps up again.


    Can we expect a bounce-back effect in CO2 emissions?

    Yes, the problem is the rebound effect when things get back to normal. China is going to start up again very quickly. There’s a real risk that the decrease in CO2 emissions that we’ve seen in recent weeks will be offset as soon as the recovery takes place. This is what happened in 2008 with the financial crisis. Chinese emissions fell in 2008 and started to rise again in 2009. I fear that this will be the same, that when we take stock of China’s CO2 emissions over the year 2020 there will be no real decrease.

    There are two ways of looking at it. Either the glass is half empty – we’ve spent money on fighting the coronavirus, so we won’t be able to do it for anything else – or the glass is half full. This shows that in the case of a real emergency, the states – France and Europe – have the means to act.


    JP Morgan says that Fossil fuel investment is not profitable


    i have always had a pessimistic prognosis that capitalism was unable to solve the climate crisis because it would mean breaking the laws of capitalism…expansionism and accumulation so to make profits.

    Now I have to re-evaluate that judgement.

    Although capitalism cannot break its economic laws, we now see in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic that it can suspend them, certainly for a number of weeks, probably for a number of months.

    So before I believed capitalism was unable implement policies to rectify the environment emergency, it now seems that it possibly can. I think though that the suspension may necessarily be for a few years…even a decade…but it has been shown that in theory that it can put aside its capitalist imperatives.


    Lost in the present crisis the climate emergency is still on-going and the news is never good.

    “This melt event is a good alarm signal that we urgently need to change our way of living to hold back global warming because it is likely that the IPCC projections could be too optimistic for the Arctic,” said Dr Xavier Fettweis, co-author of the research


    Greta Thunberg has urged people around the world to take a new path after the coronavirus pandemic, which she said proved “our society is not sustainable”.

    She said the strong global response to Covid-19 demonstrated how quickly change could happen when humanity came together and acted on the advice of scientists. She said the same principles should be applied to the climate crisis.

    “Whether we like it or not, the world has changed. It looks completely different now from how it did a few months ago. It may never look the same again. We have to choose a new way forward. If the coronavirus crisis has shown us one thing, it is that our society is not sustainable. If one single virus can destroy economies in a couple of weeks, it shows we are not thinking long-term and taking risks into account.”

    “During a crisis like this there is a big risk that people try to use this emergency to push their own agenda or their own interests. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said. “I cannot stress enough how important it is that we are active democratic citizens so a crisis like this doesn’t slide in the wrong direction.”

    “We have to adapt. That is what you have to do in a crisis,” she said. “People are thinking we will get out of this and then we will push even harder.”


    The movie “planet of the humans” has stirred up a hornets nest among environmentalists.


    Global efforts to minimise the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic present an historic opportunity to scale up the technologies needed to speed a transition to cleaner energy, Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said.

    “I believe there is an opportunity – and I call it an historic opportunity here,” Birol, an economist who took the helm of the Paris-based IEA in 2015, told Reuters.  “The big time is about to come, but they need a push,” he said, adding that the economic stimulus packages being delivered worldwide offer an ideal vehicle for change.

    Birol cautioned against blanket categorisation of the oil and gas industry as “troublemakers”, saying oil would still be used for years to come and that the coronavirus had underscored the importance of petrochemicals.
    “Today the petrochemical industry … is one of the most critical ones helping us with the masks we are using or the sanitisers we are using,” he said.


    If Americans cut their consumption of animal-based foods by half, it could prevent 1.6 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a 35% reduction.

    If U.S. beef consumption is  cut by 90%, the climate benefits could be even bigger, leading to a cumulative decrease of 2.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

    The average U.S. diet amounts to 5.0 kg CO2 eq. per person per day. Whereas red meat (beef, pork, lamb) represents 9% of the calories available from this diet, it contributes 47% of the GHGE. All animal-based foods combined (red meat, poultry, fish/seafood, eggs, dairy, and animal based fats) represent 82% of the baseline diet GHGE.

    “While a diet shift isn’t a silver bullet, it could play an important role in curbing climate change,” Martin Heller, lead author of the study and a research specialist at University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems at the School for Environment and Sustainability, said in a statement. “This research shows that replacing only half of our animal-based food consumption with plant-based alternatives could account for nearly a quarter of the reductions necessary for the U.S. to meet a Paris Agreement target,”


    Ten corporations that agreed to a total of $56m in civil penalties for allegedly breaking environmental laws are not being required to make payments under a pause granted by the US government during the Covid-19 pandemic. They signed settlements with the government agreeing to pay fines without admitting liability but the justice department last month advised most of the companies of extensions.

    One company, Virginia power provider Dominion Energy, settled and agreed to pay $1.4m for allegedly releasing 27.5m gallons of water from a coal ash impoundment that seeped into groundwater along the shore of the James River. Coal ash contains dangerous pollutants, including mercury, cadmium and arsenic, which can cause widespread environmental damage. The company said it plans to pay the settlement penalty once it is finalized.
    Dominion has a number of ties to high-ranking Trump officials, including EPA’s former top enforcement official, Patrick Traylor, who had Dominion has a client. Attorney general William Barr has served on the company’s board of directors and received more than $500,000 from Dominion.

    Another  violator, one of the world’s largest steel companies, ArcelorMittal’schief executive was at a Trump roundtable of business leaders in India in February and also was one of about 20 executives to dine with Trump in Davos at the World Economic Forum in January. Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross was previously on the company’s board of directors.

    Denver-based oil and gas company K P Kauffman allegedly violated air pollution laws, emitting volatile organic compounds that form smog in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. KP Kauffman spent $200,000 lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2019 and the beginning of 2020, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2016, the company hosted a meeting between oil industry executives and president Donald Trump. CEO Kevin P Kauffman is a major GOP donor.

    Chris Saeger, director of strategic initiatives at Accountable.US, said:
    “When we’re facing a public health crisis that causes respiratory problems, this is a time to be holding companies to a higher standard of air quality, not a lower one.”

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