Forget Net Zero – Have a “Fossil Free Day” | Mark Liners

NSThe important thing about the agenda is not what is included, but what is missing. And that is the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop26), In Glasgow. There are some important issues for discussion and negotiation: $ 100 Billion Funding Promise, NS 1.5C target And how to increase global mitigation ambitions to meet that. However, there are suggestions for something that is definitely off the agenda, although it is arguably the most useful in dealing with climate emergencies.

The cops’ problem-and I’ve done a few things-is that activities tend to be a substitute for action. The atmosphere is enthusiastic. People go from meeting to meeting, from negotiation to negotiation, back and forth between bundles of paper, phones, laptops, and (if you’re lucky) hurriedly grabbed supple sandwiches. Some negotiators are everywhere with wheeled suitcases packed with prints from all previous police officers. So you don’t have to miss the opportunity to directly refer to the Bali Declaration or Berlin’s orders.

It’s heaven for lawyers, but hell for everyone else. It all depends on the wording. Whether the brackets contain “shall” or “should”, “may” or “must” is an obsession that consumes everything. The details are so small that they are mostly fractal. As you dive in, you’ll find yourself in a parallel universe of ever-expanding details, with a passionate debate about incomprehensible and mysterious subsections that lasts for weeks, or even years. Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who advises me on climate issues, is joking about a baby cop. Negotiators have done this for so long that some have married and had children. It’s interesting because it’s true.

One of the things that tends to get lost is the big picture. It’s really about solving a climate emergency. Of course, it’s on the agenda because it’s the purpose of the meeting, but at the same time it’s not actually on the agenda. Consensus may be reached on financing, losses and losses, the carbon market, and a “nationally determined contribution” (Paris’ commitment to reach the 1.5C goal). This is all great. I celebrate first and dance at the cops table at 5am last weekend.

But even 1.5C is a slippery target. It is not something that everyone can actually offer, even collectively. Whether the temperature of the planet exceeds the pre-industrial temperature threshold, which is 1.5 ° C higher, is a product of the Earth’s response to the cumulative emission of greenhouse gases and cannot be known exactly, except after wisdom. That is why it is stochastically constructed by scientists. For example, as I write today, it’s one-sixth likely that you’ve already exceeded your 1.5C budget.

So what are the urgent climate goals of Glasgow that can actually be achieved? My suggestion is very simple. We have set a date for a global withdrawal from fossil fuels. This is a kind of Independence Day from carbon. At first glance, this looks ridiculous, like all the ideas that will eventually become mainstream. So do we really have to stop burning oil? Do you have gasoline anymore? Are there any more LNG tankers sailing the world’s oceans? Is there a huge coal machine that scrapes the Carboniferous forest from under a medieval village in eastern Germany?

Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Fossil fuel end dates are forced to face non-zero net. In other words, you really need to stop burning carbon altogether. (We also need to come up with a way to get rid of excess carbon already in the atmosphere and get everyone to eat a predominantly plant-based diet, but one thing at a time.) That’s before. This means that there should be no more fossil fuel hunts, because it only creates unwanted hydrocarbon reservoirs. This means that fossil infrastructure such as coal-fired power plants, LNG terminals, and oil refineries do not have to be built at least 30 years before that date. Doing so only creates a stranded asset.

Of course, there are also dissenting opinions from carbon addicts, citing the “methadone” option for carbon recovery and storage. This is as physically and thermodynamically incredible as the endless receding illusion of fusion, but it has been touted for decades as a way to burn and continue to eat our carbon cake. .. Still, it’s still far from a large-scale deployment anywhere in the world, and it will never happen. Sorry to my friends, Fossil Fuel Free Day means that you have to leave unburned stuff on the ground where the dinosaurs left.

Of course, the date is very important. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia will volunteer soon, so setting it to 2150 is on track to turn Earth into Venus by then. I propose 2047. This is sufficient distance for a rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy to be feasible with minimal economic damage worldwide, but still sufficient to prevent the Earth from heating above 1.5. Enough distance to give a chance (probably 50:50). NS. Befitting, 2047 was just a century after the year of India’s independence in 1947, and the world’s largest democracy was born after more than a century of exploitation of the British colonies. As Jawaharlal Nehru said in his attempt in his fateful speech, “In the midnight stroke of the world sleeping, India will awaken to life and freedom.”

In Glasgow, we were able to make our own attempts destined to save our civilization from the carbon catastrophe that looms all of us. Imagine that night in August 2047, when the clock reaches midnight. The sun broke through the smoky ruins of the Industrial Revolution and was able to awaken to the freedom of life and independence from fossil fuels.

Forget Net Zero – Have a “Fossil Free Day” | Mark Liners

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