Have I mentioned that I think we’re being too slow in our response to climate change? I feel like it’s come up. We’re not moving fast enough. We need to end fossil fuel use far, far faster than the current rate, and that is not going to happen if we care more about corporate profits than human survival. Now, I suppose I should say that this is based on the modeling of a research group, and it isn’t currently the “consensus” that we’re headed for three degrees of warming. I’m willing to bet that most climate scientists would agree that we are, or that three degrees is optimistic, but I couldn’t cite you a source on that. What I can cite is this report saying that it’s likely that that’s the trajectory we’re on:
“More and more countries are promising that they will phase out coal from their energy systems, which is positive. But unfortunately, their commitments are not strong enough. If we are to have a realistic chance of meeting the 2-degree target, the phasing out of coal needs to happen faster, and countries that rely on other fossil fuels need to increase their transition rate”, says Aleh Cherp, professor at the International Environmental Institute at Lund University.
The phasing out of coal is a necessity to keep the world’s temperature increase below 2 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels. In a study by Mistra Electrification, a group of researchers has analyzed 72 countries’ pledged commitments to phase out their coal use by 2022-2050.
In the best case scenarios, the researchers show that it is possible that the temperature increase will stay below 2 degrees. But that assumes, among other things, that both China and India begin phasing out their coal use within five years. Furthermore, their phase-out needs to be as rapid as it has been in the UK and faster than Germany has promised.
The research group has also developed scenarios that they consider to be the most realistic. These scenarios indicate that Earth is moving towards a global warming of 2.5-3 degrees.
“The countries’ commitments are not sufficient, not even among the most ambitious countries. In addition, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine risks jeopardizing several of the countries’ commitments”, says Jessica Jewell, Associate professor at Physical Resource Theory, Chalmers University of Technology.
To say I’m disappointed would be to imply that I expected better. I suppose I did expect better, a couple decades ago, but world “leaders” have taught me the naivete of that optimism. This isn’t a problem that we can solve by trying to “nudge” the market in a particular direction, because a great many of the most powerful people in the world are already spending vast sums of money to “nudge” things back on track. I’ll be writing a post soon about how the billionaires think all this is going to play out, but the basic reality is that we can’t afford to wait for them to realize they’re wrong, assuming they’re even capable of such a realization. As a matter of survival, we need to take control of society away from them, and put it on a different path.