Essay by Eric Worrall
For 50 years, governments have failed to act on climate change. No more excuses
Conflict and Covid make these troubling times, but national leaders must cooperate and take action now
You might think that political leaders could have no higher priority than securing a “liveable and sustainable future”. Is that not what all of us, in every country, need and want for ourselves and for future generations? It is true that other issues are causing grave concern in many societies: governments worldwide are tackling poverty and hunger, wars and civil conflicts, the rising cost of food and energy, health systems and economies crippled by Covid-19.
If science has not persuaded most governments to act, perhaps economics will. The IPCC provides clear evidence that societies will be more prosperous in a world where climate change is constrained, than in one left to burn. In the energy sector, evidence of the zero-carbon transition is all around us. Wind and solar generation shows compound growth of about 20% a year and is cheaper almost everywhere than the alternatives. Electric car sales doubled between 2020 and 2021.
Unless one is invested in fossil fuels, there is now no reason not to take the clean energy path. Many corporate actors understand the need for early action on this front. But governments still need to incentivise the transition. The evolving Just Energy Transition packages may yet offer an investment pathway that can accelerate deployment in emerging and developing countries. Corporate action towards other targets such as reduction of methane emissions, also needs to be encouraged.
If economics should give us hope for accelerating action despite the host of other issues menacing our times, then so should history. Fifty years ago the international community faced a similar litany of troubles: depletion of natural resources, desertification, the legacy of atom bomb testing, mercury contamination, cold war proxy conflicts. Geopolitics split the world. Yet at the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, leaders agreed to cooperate on threats faced in common.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/02/for-50-years-governments-have-failed-to-act-on-climate-change-no-more-excuses
I think the title of Christiana Figueres piece, “For 50 years”, tells us all we need to know about the climate crisis.
For 50 years nothing much has happened to the climate. Food production and life expectancy have risen, yet the world has wasted insane amounts of money chasing climate phantoms, while real problems go unattended.
Still I hope Christiana Figueres gets a second crack at the top job. Can you imagine how dreary it would all be if say Canada’s Catherine McKenna got the job? When you look at the list of candidates, you will understand why my vote is for Christiana.
I know, Christiana gave us the Paris Agreement. But at least her wild directionless enthusiasm is entertaining. I suspect last time round she annoyed her fellow UN apparatchiks even more than she annoys us. And Christiana’s repeated attacks against Capitalism kind of keep it obvious what in my opinion is the real agenda of the climate crisis movement.