As the clock runs down on the time we have remaining to thwart catastrophic climate change we have to decide if we want that badly enough to do what we must for our grandkids and generations to follow them.
Then Potsdam Institute director, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, told the delegates to the 2015 Paris climate summit what it would take - nothing less than the "induced implosion" of the global fossil fuel industry. What he meant was that governments would have to shut down the coal mines, the oil and gas wells and the bitumen pits and in short order. Nothing less than a rapid transition to alternative, clean energy would buy us a fighting chance at averting runaway global warming and climate mayhem.
The Guardian reports on research that says we can still probably do it if we want to choose life over ruin.
It shows that meeting the internationally agreed aspiration of keeping global warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is still possible. The scientists say it is therefore the choices being made by global society, not physics, which is the obstacle to meeting the goal.
The study found that if all fossil fuel infrastructure – power plants, factories, vehicles, ships and planes – from now on are replaced by zero-carbon alternatives at the end of their useful lives, there is a 66% chance of staying under 1.5C.
Christopher Smith, of the University of Leeds, who led the research, said: “It’s good news from a geophysical point of view. But on the other side of the coin, the [immediate fossil fuel phaseout] is really at the limit of what we could we possibly do. We are basically saying we can’t build anything now that emits fossil fuels.”
Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics, who was not part of the research team, said: “We are rapidly approaching the end of the age of fossil fuels. This study confirms that all new energy infrastructure must be sustainable from now on if we are to avoid locking in commitments to emissions that would lead to the world exceeding the goals of the Paris agreement.”From the study abstract:
"if carbon-intensive infrastructure is phased out at the end of its design lifetime from the end of 2018, there is a 64% chance that peak global mean temperature rise remains below 1.5 °C. Delaying mitigation until 2030 considerably reduces the likelihood that 1.5 °C would be attainable even if the rate of fossil fuel retirement was accelerated.
"Although the challenges laid out by the Paris Agreement are daunting, we indicate 1.5 °C remains possible and is attainable with ambitious and immediate emission reduction across all sectors."What does that mean? No new fossil energy infrastructure. No new pipelines. No armada of bitumen-laden supertankers plying the British Columbia coast. The very survival of our civilization hinges on shutting down fossil fuel production and abandoning plans to expand fossil energy infrastructure.
Justin Trudeau and most other Canadian politicians, federal and provincial, are on the wrong side of this. Their side is willing to gamble on the future of human civilization. It's not even conventional crude oil they want to pimp either. They're out to flood world markets with the filthiest, toxin-laden, high-carbon, ersatz petroleum sludge on the planet. That is the very definition of "pernicious."