Guest Post: Climate delayers are climate change deniers

'I turn 60 next month. I don’t have hope. I have kids.'

Action delayed on climate change
Illustration credit: Mark Castillo with graphic elements from www.vecteezy.com

Are you feeling a little more than pissed that so much said and written about climate change is about the problem but not the solution? I am. How BIG is the problem?

 Here’s a key section from the summary in the International Panel on Climate Change 2018 report: “The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius would require ‘rapid and far-reaching’ transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing (carbon dioxide) from the air.” 

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez believes we have one year to change course. So, too, argues David Wallace Wells in his New York Times best seller “The Uninhabitable Earth”: “If we start today, when global emissions are still growing, the necessary rate is 10 percent. If we delay another decade, it will require us to cut emissions by 30 percent each year.”

In order to stop climate disaster, we need policy changes on world, federal, state and local levels. Here are 10 policies that should be put in place to meet the call to action to a clean energy future for our children’s children:

  1. Get rid of government handouts to the fossil fuel industry.
  2. Give incentives to the renewable energy instead.
  3. Start a works corps to build America’s renewables programs.
  4. Enact a carbon tax to raise funds to invest in renewables and slow the growth of fossil fuels.
  5. Stop future fossil-fuel development through banning drilling, fracking, etc.
  6. Require utilities to produce all their electricity from zero-carbon sources — such as wind and solar.
  7. Set energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings.
  8. Curb methane emissions from oil-and-gas operations.
  9. End the use of hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gases used in air-conditioners, refrigerators and foams from the reduction in future emissions.
  10. End endless wars for oil and profit and cut the 800 U.S. military bases and trillion-dollar-a-year budget by a third and redirect the spending to renewables, clean jobs, electric transportation and new research and innovation.

We are only 12 years away from locking in extreme warming. The IPCC report released last October had a huge impact on leaders around the world and ignited the Green New Deal. The report outlined how little time we have and how much destruction is expected over the next 50 to 100 years.

It showed how global warming will be 50% worse if we strive to keep on track of the 2 degrees Celsius goal of the Paris Climate Summit as opposed to 1.5 Celsius.

If we put sustained policy and options in place, we can avoid the crisis. We have the technology in place. Solar is 90% cheaper than it was 30 years ago. China as surpassed us in development and implementation. By 2050, 70 to 90% of our energy could come from renewables. In the next 10 years, countries like Norway will ban combustible engines.

We need 85% of electric to come from renewables by 2050. We can do this on just solar alone. This is an attainable goal. The oil and gas industry has spent billions to stop climate solutions, buy off politicians and tell us that it’ll cost over $50 trillion dollars and millions of jobs to save their industries. But listen to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto: “There are now more jobs in renewable energy in the state of Pennsylvania than coal, natural gas, and oil combined.”

If there’s going to be a Green New Deal, cities, counties and states need to adopt ways to become carbon neutral. More than 100 cities have adopted a commitment to net-zero carbon by 2030-2045. Your community can, too. Climate justice is good for our economy, people and environment.

Start demanding our politicians, journalists, leaders and teachers act on the strategies and tactics to get the problem solved. My kids will be 46 and 44 in 2050, when we need to be at zero carbon emissions as a planet to postpone long-term climate destruction. I turn 60 next month. I don’t have hope. I have kids. Let’s work as a nation as our grandparents and great-grandparents did during World War II to prevent the destruction to our democracy, economy and planet.

The Colorado Independent occasionally runs guest posts from government officials, local experts and concerned citizens on a variety of topics. These posts are meant to provide diverse perspectives and do not represent the views of The Independent. To pitch a guest post, please contact tips@coloradoindependent.com or visit our submission page

2 COMMENTS

  1. I too turned 60 this year and I have a son whose fiancee has announced they will not be able to bring a child into this world with such poor hopes for the future of our planet. This saddens me greatly at not only the loss of a future grandchild, but also the speed at which this global change is approaching to overwhelm our ability to prevent this catastrophe. We are already seeeing the effects of climate change all around us, from the severe weather to the red tide in the Gulf and more. We need to hold politicians’ feet to the fire to force this issue. We need to mobilize on a local level to ban plastic bags, straws, and move to a carbon free lifestyle whenever possible.

  2. I’m pissed too. Where was the media coverage of the recent Extinction Rebellion protests in Denver? I think only Westword covered it.

    As to making changes, I’m afraid the guest commentator is over-estimating how much greening our electricity is going to achieve. De-carboning electricity is actually the easiest part; all our transportation and it’s supporting infrastructure, as well as agriculture and mining is fossil fuel based are pretty resistant to electrification. Even worse, our whole way of living is predicated on GROWTH and as long as we are wedded to that story we are essentially DOOMED as any incremental improvements made will quickly be overrun. I’ve serious doubts that humans are capable of giving up living large on the magic that was fossil fuels until the whole system collapses on itself and suddenly everyone realizes that history can indeed run backwards and in fact has several times.

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