Saturday, July 11, 2015

We Have to Take Down the Fossil Fuel Industry. That Includes Our Own.

He's probably the most prominent climate scientist most North Americans have never heard of but you can get caught up by reading his Wiki entry here.  He's Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and when he speaks, serious people listen - closely. This is a man not given to hyperbole.

That introductory remark is intended to help you take the measure of his latest warning, this one concerning the global fossil fuel industry.

An “induced implosion” of the fossil fuel industry must take place for there to be any chance of avoiding dangerous global warming, according to one of the world’s most influential climate scientists.

Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, an adviser to the German government and Pope Francis, said on Friday: “In the end it is a moral decision. Do you want to be part of the generation that screwed up the planet for the next 1,000 years? I don’t think we should make that decision.”

The Paris conference was attended by more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries. Schellnhuber told the delegates: “In order to stay below 2C (36F) [the internationally agreed limit for global warming], or even 3C, we need to have something really disruptive, which I would call an induced implosion of the carbon economy over the next 20-30 years. Otherwise we have no chance of avoiding dangerous, perhaps disastrous, climate change.”

“The promise of the fossil fuel age has never been fulfilled,” he said. “We still have 2bn people living on $2 (£1.30) a day – that is crazy.” He called for two strong messages to come from December’s UN summit: that “the age of carbon is over” and that “it is not the poor of the world who will pay for the transition”.

To achieve these outcomes, Schellnhuber said: “We need a global social movement and it is already happening.” He said the best analogy for the transition from dirty to clean energy was the abolition of slavery, which was fundamentally driven by ethical concerns.

Schellnhuber's remarks points to an ominous reality. The fossil fuel companies will not act voluntarily. We have to shut them down. They need to implode and it has to be induced - by us. Big Oil, Big Gas, King Coal - they all stand blocking the path to any hope of a viable future for our grandchildren and all the generations that may follow them.

This is an ethical and moral responsibility that all of us owe to the future, one that we cannot ignore. That goes for all the Petro-Pols in Parliament on both sides of the Commons. Schellnhuber is right. This issue is in many ways akin to the abolition of slavery and, right now, it's not just the Tories who are on the side of the slavers. The Liberals and the New Democrats are in on it too and, if you support them, I'm sorry to say this but so are you.


Anonymous said...

"Controlled implosion" of fossil industry will not succeed without a "controlled implosion" of population.
Big business & banksters will do anything to prevent the latter.

The Mound of Sound said...

We both know there won't be a controlled implosion of population barring some cataclysmic, potentially global civilization destroying war. Yes, the banksters, at least in North America, will mainly side with the fossil fuelers and so taking down the hydrocarbon industry will be harder but no less essential. The point you miss, A..non, is that there's only one side getting stronger in this struggle and rather rapidly at that. It is not the banks or the fossil fuelers.

thwap said...


At the present moment in time we have a corrupt, election-stealing cabal of total shills for the oil industry in power in this country.

A party that doesn't even pretend that global warming is a genuine threat, but which advertises its belief that it is a liberal plot against "freedom."

And so, your strategy, so far as I can tell, is to encourage a three-way split in the non-harpercon vote, in the asinine belief that the Green Party of Canada can zoom from 4-7% support across the country to something like the 45% support that will be necessary that will be necessary to obliterate the NDP and the Liberals and thereby defeat the Conservatives.

And anyone who doesn't support your mad crusade is a bona fide enemy of humanity.

Have I got this right?

I don't mind that you're going to vote for the Green Party candidate in your neck of the woods. They might have a nice electoral platform and good people running. That's your right. But kindly desist from this self-righteous condemnation of anyone who might think there are more successful ways to defeat the harpercons.

If your efforts to increase the Green vote by a factor of ten are only semi-successful, and vote-splitting manages to give the harpercons another majority with 25% of the voters behind them, I'm sure the impact on Canada's efforts to address climate change will be profound.

Northern PoV said...

A very good article thanks for the link. And to return the favour:

When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job
Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in. Things are worse than we think, but they can't really talk about it
But Mound I am going to take you on here. I can't let this go w/o chiming in. (Perhaps you need a hyperbole checker? ;-) )

Return hype:
Anyone who lives in our modern economy (I ain't no hermit unabomber, what about you?) is "on the side of the slavers".

Re Our Election 2015:
It is about finding a path back to "progressive democracy".
If we can win on that one, the climate battle becomes a contest - rather than a rout by the 1%. (Or at least makes the battle for post-climate-change survival a collective, share-the-pain effort.)

1) I currently do not "support" any party. There!
2) I will vote for the candidate in my riding that will best help defeat the CONs. (If I think the local CON can sneak through I'll vote for who I think is the strongest challenger, if the local CON shows no strength I'll vote for the party that has the best chance at the national level.)
3) Alas, neither of my options above are likely to be Green but I'll keep an open mind in case we see an SGI-type upset forming across BC (fingers crossed) ;-)
4) If we defeat Harper and get PR, I'll likely join the Greens and challenge their pro-capitalism or find a splinter group I not ashamed to support.

So here's my hype: Alas, unless St.Lizzie shows a massive uptick, voting Green in 2015 is playing the "long-game" when we are already in overtime.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Thwap, don't be childish, it doesn't become you. I'm criticizing the party you support and quite legitimately. For some reason you consider that a campaign to sway votes away from the NDP to sweep Harper back into power. Don't be a chump.

@ NPoV, every mainstream party in Parliament backs the extractive industries, including the Tar Sands. Libs and Dippers don't like to confront that reality. It actually makes them real bitchy. I really don't care.

I'm voting Green because I'm convinced it is the only party I can support. I would do that even if my riding wasn't safely in the bag for the Cons.

The international community seems to believe that December's climate summit is our last chance if we're to have a hope of staying within 2C. I haven't heard Junior or Tommy Boy even dispute that much less refute it. Yet neither of them is willing to advocate for leaving the highest-carbon fossil fuels in the ground. They haven't got the sand, either of them.

By all means vote for whom you like but at least be mature enough to realize everything you're voting for - the good and bad. If that leaves you a bit unhinged, as it seems to do Thwap, well that's your problem and you're welcome to keep it to yourself.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

" If we defeat Harper and get PR, I'll likely join the Greens and challenge their pro-capitalism or find a splinter group I not ashamed to support."

thwap said...


I'll be voting Liberal where I live, and I might even volunteer for my local candidate, if it's the same guy they had before, or someone similar. I'll be doing most of my work volunteering for Linda McQuaig in her Toronto riding.

Because I feel those candidates are the best choices for defeating the harpercons in my area.

According to you, that makes me the moral equivalent of a supporter of slavery in the 19th century.

And you say that I'm becoming unhinged. And you took offence at MY comment.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thwap, getting rid of Harper is indeed important but so is sweeping all the neoliberals, all the petro-pols straight out of Parliament.

The science leaves no doubt that the survival of future generations, especially the weak and vulnerable of the Third World, and the provision of some viable future for our own grandkids demands that we leave most fossil fuels, including all of the highest-carbon fuels, in the ground, unburned.

When it comes to that most fundamental of all issues, your preferred party along with the Liberals are on the same page as the Tories. Read the leaked report in today's Globe about the backroom plot our premiers are hatching to expedite bitumen pipelines and sweep aside regulatory protections. Then read what your party's shining star, Notley, had to say about the Tar Sands.

The Pope is right on the money. It is a moral issue akin to slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries and, no matter whether you support the NDP or the LPC or even the CPC, you're on the immoral side. It's that cut and dried.

There's no concealing it any more and, yes, I'll do whatever I can to steer every vote I possibly can away from all three mainstream parties. They're all betraying our kids and future generations of Canadians. Sure Harper is worse but that only makes your leaders slightly less worse.