Rising Emissions | Addicted to fossil-fuels

Photo by Jonathan Gonzalez on Unsplash

1992 — Earth Summit, the entire world accepts climate change. Emissions rise.

1995 — COP1. Emissions continue to rise

2005 — Kyoto Protocol enters into force. Emissions continue to rise

2015: Paris Agreement at #COP21. Emissions continue to rise

2020: Global pandemic. Emissions continue to rise

Year after year, barely aware of its own dependence, our government, itching and scratching, crawls back for one last hit, for one last angry fix, for one last suckle on the fossil fuel teat that feeds it. And year after year, emissions rise and the sickening rigamarole of back-patting and self congratulation repeats itself. And year after year the health of our planet degrades.

We’re addicted to fossil fuel. All but our leadership knows it, that junkie in denial who can “quit whenever”, that burnout who steals from their family, that fiend who carries on to impose their ills, laying waste to everything they touch. The Midas of Toxicity.

Since when do we allow the inebriated at the steering wheel? Since when can they get back behind the wheel, crash after crash? Since when do we placidly hop aboard, voiceless and submissive, as we hurtle towards a cliff edge?

It’s time for an intervention. It’s time for an expulsion. It’s time for others to steer. It’s time for a Citizen’s Assembly.

We’re addicted to Fossil Fuel, but quitting doesn’t have to mean going cold turkey.

It doesn’t have to be all Big Sur and Trainspotting, with pink elephants and babies on the ceiling. We can ease ourselves off. With a gentle hand, a warm blanket and assurance that the pain will eventually pass. But we must stop doing what got us here in the first place, not run back to the bar, start a tab and empty our bank account with our dealer; the equivalent of approving further Mega Carbon Bombs projects worldwide.

Through the Nicotine patch of Solar, the Beck’s Blue of Tidal, the Vape of Wind, viable alternatives to fossil fuels exist. Politics must be decoupled from business, vested interests of entrenched corporations from our laws & policies, the profits of huge corporations from the damages to our environment. Only then can we slowly release the pressure on the accelerator pedal, come to a stop and begin to reverse.

Transitional solutions exist for a healthier and fairer future — together we can break the cycle of addiction.

We have technical solutions

Research by Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi from Stanford University, dating as far back as 2009, lay out roadmaps to achieve 100% renewable energy globally. They posit that running on 100% renewable-power globally, would require less land than currently allocated to power generation. As an example, the footprint of the required 3.8 million onshore turbines required to achieve this, would be less than 50 square kilometres which is smaller than Manhattan. To put this in perspective, Brasil deforested 7 times the surface area of Manhattan in the Amazon in 2021 alone, i.e. 1% of Earth’s surface.

We have legislative solutions

The polluter must pay. Reparations for damage to the environment must be enforced. Retroactive fines must be issued. Environmental protection and Sustainability must be enshrined in law. A citizen’s assembly must be put in place to break the deadlock and put fairness and justice at the centre of decision-making. It would give the public a voice in guiding our political trajectory and responsibility for our climate and ecological emergency.

We have economical solutions

We’ve always looked for alternatives to our current system which is so flagrantly at odds with our environment, we can no longer indulge it. Doing so would insure extinction. Alternatives exist, alternatives which put the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants at the very centre of its focus rather than the one, rare and lucky individual. Degrowth is one of the ideologies.

The hurdles we face are political, not technical. We have numerous tools at our disposal and need to find a crew that will use more than the acceleration and the steering wheel.

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