Optimism on Climate Change
In the book, Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, Johan Norberg points out that humans are a gloomy species. Some 71% of Britons think the world is getting worse; only 5% think it is improving. It’s been devastating to see inaccuracies and confusion on the subject sometimes perpetuated by the media, especially on the topic of Climate Change.
Blood and guts and disasters are what make for headlines. Is it any wonder that we feel apprehensive — with so many disasters “all around us”? The media amplify this distortion. Famines and earthquakes all make gripping headlines; “40 million Planes Landed Safely Last Year” does not.
Pessimism has political consequences. A whopping 81% of Donald Trump’s supporters think life has grown worse in the past 50 years.
Sweden in those days was poorer than Sub-Saharan Africa is today. “Why are some people poor?” is the wrong question, argues Mr. Norberg. Poverty is the starting point for all societies. What is astonishing is how fast it has receded. In 1820, 94% of humanity subsisted on less than $2 a day in modern money. That fell to 37% in 1990 and less than 10% in 2015.
As people grow more adept at abstract thought, they find it easier to imagine themselves in other people’s shoes. And there is plenty of evidence that society has grown more tolerant. The main reason why things tend to get better is that knowledge is cumulative and easily shared.
There is still the question of global warming, which is a worry? Can human ingenuity tame it?
CAN we change? And the answer, fortunately, is now YES!
We’re seeing a continuing sharp, exponential decline in the cost of renewable energy, energy efficiency, batteries and storage — and the spread of sustainable agriculture and forestry — giving nations around the world a historic opportunity to embrace a sustainable future, based on a low carbon, hyper-efficient economy.
WILL we change?
In December, 195 nations reached a historic agreement in Paris, which exceeded the highest end of the range of expectations. And the Paris Agreement is just the most recent example of our willingness to act. Much more change is needed, of course, but one of the binding provisions of the Paris Agreement requires five-year transparent reviews of the action plans put forward by every nation, and the first will begin in less than two years. These countries pledge to act to keep global temperature rises to between 1.5 and 2 degrees.
Also, over 1,000 non-state groups, from Tesco and Tata to Aviva and Cisco, have so far signed the Paris Pledge for Action on Climate. This new movement is really self-preservation. It begins with the investors. Would you invest in a company that was insensitive to climate change? Company executives know this insensitivity and they are acting accordingly.
Not only do we have to feel hopeful, but we have to speak hopefully because people are motivated by hope. For example, global investment in renewables is predicted to be $8,000 billion over the next 25 years;
Carbon Offsetting by Planting Trees – Is it a realistic Proposition?
The oceans are enormously important. Carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean. If that hadn’t happened, and if the oceans weren’t there, climate change would already be much worse. When CO2 is released into the atmosphere, about three-quarters of it dissolves into the ocean over a few decade (Acidity).
We must concentrate on the rest of the carbon dioxide emissions, which will only be neutralized by a variety of longer-term geological processes over 250 years.
The only true solution to combat climate change is by tree planting. Ending deforestation, which cause 10% of the problem, will not solve global warming by itself —urgent action is needed to cut the other 90 percent of emissions.
The world is home to over three trillion trees—with almost half of them living in tropical or subtropical forests. There are roughly 400 trees for every human. 12,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture, Earth had twice as many trees as it does now. (The previous estimate of trees in the world was 400 billion.)
Time to get the calculator and do some sums:
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