Climate change, as it has emerged as a defining political issue of our time, has a peculiar exceptionalism attached to it. While we know it is in some sense a political problem, or at least demands a political solution, we nevertheless tend to think of it as a problem in nature – one that transcends social issues and threatens social life itself. Every year, waves of liberal students enter environmental science programs at universities across the West, determined to study the changes human beings are causing in the earth’s ecosystems.
Martin J Boucher and Philip Loring, Ensia, May 8, 2017
March 20, 2017 — At the COP 21 climate change convention in Paris at the end of 2015, leaders from 194 nations agreed to pursue actions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming within 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) above pre-industrial conditions. Meeting this goal will avoid continued and increasing harm to people and ecosystems around the world caused by a changing climate, and it is also a great opportunity to turn the world into a place that embodies our collective and pluralistic values for the future. Nevertheless, there remains a notable gap between current trajectories of global GHG emissions and the reductions necessary to see COP 21’s goals realized.
Numerous technological and economic strategies for bridging that gap are currently being discussed, including transitions to renewable energy and/or nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, and cap and trade. However, many overlook the fundamental social issues that drive climate change: overconsumption, poverty, industrial agriculture and population growth. As such, even if these strategies succeed in mitigating CO2 emissions — renewable energies, for instance, seem to have achieved irreversible momentum— they leave unaddressed a second gap, a sustainability gap, in that they allow issues of ecological overshoot and social injustice to persist. We argue that there is an opportunity to reverse climate change by attending to these sustainability issues, but it requires that we reject the convenience of technological optimism and put aside our fears of the world’s “big” social problems.
In 2004, Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow wrote in Sciencethat it is possible to address climate change by breaking the larger problem of CO2 emissions down into a series of more manageable “wedges.” They offer 15 different solutions based on existing technology, including nuclear energy, coal carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency, and increased adoption of conservation tillage, for mitigating climate change one wedge at a time. Their pragmatic approach to the problem has been popularly received, as evidenced by the thousands of citations that the paper has received. However, their approach can also be critiqued for glossing over the immense costs involved and for its piecemeal and top-down nature. In other words, they assume that this complex global environmental problem can be fixed with a handful of standardized solutions.
Climate change is just one of many related sustainability problems that the world faces. In addition to rising atmospheric CO2, we are approaching or have already exceeded multiple other planetary boundaries — such as fresh water, nitrogen, phosphorus and biodiversity loss — that CO2-mitigating technologies cannot solve. Solving climate change on its own would require immense investments but leave too many other problems unaddressed. That is not to say that these technological innovations are irrelevant; Pacala and Socolow’s desire to break down the challenge into manageable pieces is both valid and appreciable. What’s missing from their assessment is the fact that the world is a complex system, and systemic problems require systemic solutions.
Attac, verdi Jugend Bonn, ausgekohltCO2ohlt, Erwerbslosenforum, Die Linke Bonn, Bonner Jugendbewegung, BUND KG Bonn, DKP Bonn, Kampagne Don’t Nuke the Climate Katholische Landjugendbewegung, Bonnections, Netzwerk Friedenkooperative, May 4, 2017
Invitation : 1st Call for Action Conference protesting the world climate summit in Bonn (COP23) on Saturday 20th May 2017 10.00 a.m 7.00 p.m at DGB Haus Endenicher Str. 127 Bonn
During our first preparational meeting in April we have come up with some ideas as well as some preliminary considerations concerning the protest against the world climate summit in Bonn which will take place from 6th November 17th of November.
http://democracynow.org - To mark the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency, thousands of climate activists from around the country are converging in Washington, D.C. on Saturday for the People’s Climate March. Already, Trump has threatened to pull the U.S.
Who can forget the image? George W. Bush’s stupid, blank face staring out across the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln under a giant banner emblazoned with the words “mission accomplished”.
The date was 1 May 2003 – a little over a month after the US launched its invasion of Iraq – and Bush was there to declare an end to major combat operations. As it turned out, this was somewhat premature.
If you know me, you know I tend to be optimistic about climate justice (some would say I’m in fact a hopeless idealist, or an incurable romantic, or even an insane utopian dreamer). Notwithstanding this (or is it because it’s all true?) I wanted to begin the year on a hopeful note – thus I’m taking this leap into the chartable waters of 2017.