According to George Monbiot it’s the flood of dirty, fossil fuel, money into politics and the public debate which means that nothing is being done about climate change. We’re even accused of being responsible ourselves. That must be why, when asked, we point out that the solution to the assumption that climate change is a problem is that carbon tax that Bill Nordhaus, Nick Stern and every other economist having a look at the problem suggests. You know, insisting upon the correct solution as devised by the settled science is so unhelpful, isn’t it?
A recent paper in Nature shows that we have little hope of preventing more than 1.5C of global heating unless we retire existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Even if no new gas or coal power plants, roads and airports are built, the carbon emissions from current installations are likely to push us past this threshold. Only by retiring some of this infrastructure before the end of its natural life could we secure a 50% chance of remaining within the temperature limit agreed in Paris in 2015. Yet, far from decommissioning this Earth-killing machine, almost everywhere governments and industry stoke its fires.
That recent paper is this one:
We estimate that, if operated as historically, existing infrastructure will cumulatively emit about 658 gigatonnes of CO2 (with a range of 226 to 1,479 gigatonnes CO2, depending on the lifetimes and utilization rates assumed). More than half of these emissions are predicted to come from the electricity sector; infrastructure in China, the USA and the 28 member states of the European Union represents approximately 41 per cent, 9 per cent and 7 per cent of the total, respectively.
We’re arrogant enough to think that we’ve some influence upon the political debate here in Britain. We’re not stupid enough to think that we influence the Chinese Communist Party.
Which is where we’d suggest that people check their own references. Because to work out a solution to a problem we’ve got to identify what the cause of it is. If it’s not fossil fuel money influencing public debate causing the problem then restrictions on that rather important freedom and liberty of speech aren’t going to solve it either, are they?