Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a high profile figure in the effort to end Apartheid in South Africa, we need to follow teenage climate activists to achieve a tipping point which will lead to the global outlawing of fossil fuel.
Climate change is the apartheid of our times
Boycotts, sanctions and divestment proved effective in South Africa, but that required a mindset shift
Corporations, financial institutions and socially conscious citizens must pull us back from the climate change abyss. They have the muscle to make renewables mainstream and reposition fossil fuels as the tobacco of the energy industry.
At last week’s UN general assembly, more than 60 world leaders announced new climate targets, with 66 countries pledging to reach “net zero” carbon emissions by the middle of the century. But the US, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Brazil were not among them.
UN secretary-general António Guterres is counting on the leadership of young activists to pressure governments to do more to address what he rightly calls the “climate emergency”. We agree that forward-thinking young people are the change agents for tomorrow. But corporations and financial institutions must act today. They should join the more than 1,100 institutions with $11tn in assets who have announced that they are divesting.
The campaign to divest from fossil fuel has two legs: participants agree to divest from fossil fuel and invest in renewable energy. Many have divested (and many more must still do so) but relatively few have reinvested in renewables. This second step is critical to make clean energy more affordable, push us to the tipping point and lead to the outlawing of fossil fuel use.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, one of our most important levers in overcoming apartheid was the support of global corporations that heeded the call to divest. Apartheid became a global enemy; now it is climate change’s turn.
…Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/9e4befae-e083-11e9-b8e0-026e07cbe5b4
I’m shocked and saddened at what I see as the betrayal of poor people in South Africa, of poor people across the entire world, by one of my heroes.
Archbishop Tutu knowingly calls for fossil fuel to be attacked, divested, discouraged, even though he knows there is currently no affordable renewable alternative to fossil fuel.
The one hope poor people in Africa and elsewhere have of a better life is that their lives will be touched by industrialization. There is no other path to improved living standards.
By attacking investment in fossil fuels, Desmond Tutu is knowingly attacking the welfare of poor people, using his influence to turn poor people away from prosperity, gambling their hopes of a better life on affordable renewable technology which currently does not exist, which might never exist.
Nobody can be certain what will happen in the future, not even climate modellers. But we all know what is happening right now.
For shame, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Answer the cries of your people for deliverance from the misery and hopelessness of extreme poverty, and have a bit of faith that if you right the wrongs of today, the future will take care of itself.