While scientists have recently warned about worsening global warming, the goals are still in place, and we must find creative ways to meet them. The Energy Transitions Commission has just released a list of actionsthat can be taken on a large scale to keep the 1.5°C target alive. These include rapid reductions in methane emissions, halting deforestation, beginning reforestation, decarbonising the power sector and phasing out coal. What’s remarkable about the report is how clearly it identifies the steps that need to be taken to safeguard the planet. We have the road map; we need capital and governments to follow it.

Economics and climate change

When we account for endogenous technology, we find that the transition to cleaner energy is much more important than simply reducing energy consumption, and that technological interventionsneed to be redirected far more aggressively than they have been. Similarly, when one incorporates more realistic assumptions about the costs of global warming – including the possibility of climate tipping points – one’s conclusions about how to approach the problem tend to change substantially. 

How Democracy Can Win Again | by Gergely Karácsony - Project Syndicate

“our generation is cursed with more than “just” a massive political and social upheaval. We are also facing a climate crisis that calls into question the very preconditions upon which modern societies are organized. Progressives like me see this, too, as a direct consequence of how our economic system works. Infinite, unregulated economic growth – capitalism’s core dynamic – simply is not compatible with life on a planet with finite resources. As matters stand, our capitalist system drives more extraction and generates more emissions every year.”

How Democracy Can Win Again | by Gergely Karácsony - Project Syndicate
via Instapaper

Airlines and CO2

Aviation accounts for about 2.5% of global carbon emissions. This is a big deal because it would make the aviation sector the world’s 7th largest carbon emitter if it were a country. Airlinesaccount for roughly about 1 billion tons of carbon emissions. Sweden, Greta Thunberg’s home country, contributes 40 million tons. California, the leader in US climate policy, accounts for about 250 million tons. Thus, aviation accounts for 25 times Sweden’s emissions and four times California’s emissions.

Vaccine apartheid

In Africa, though, the numbers are far, far worse. Only 3.5 percent of eligible Kenyans have received a jab, 1.3 percent of Nigerians and just 0.09 percent of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 1.3 billion people live on the continent, and less than 2 percent of them have been completely vaccinated. Critics are furious about the "vaccine apartheid" and condemn the "vaccine nationalism" of wealthy industrialized countries.

Gerd Leonhard