Stefan Rahmstorf has written a commentary in the Sydney Morning Herald urging Australians to step up on emissions cuts. It’s one of the most intelligent and persuasive such commentaries I’ve seen.
We’ve known that climate change is a problem for 50 years. As Rahmstorf says,
It’s now half a century since the first official scientific report, published in November 1965 by scientific advisors to US President Lyndon Johnson, warned that rising greenhouse gas emissions would cause global warming that “could be deleterious from the point of view of human beings”. The predictions of that report, based on sound physical science, have turned out to be true. And despite myriad entrenched vested interests worldwide we are finally making headway in moving away from fossil fuels, the root cause of the unfolding climate crisis.
Another crucial point is that switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy is not bad for the economy. It’s good for it. One example is Rahmstorf’s homeland, Germany:
My own country, Germany, moved early and wagered much public, private and political capital on a transformation to a modern sustainable economy. Today, our emissions are 27 per cent below 1990 levels while our GDP has almost doubled. The European Union as a whole has likewise grown its economy while reducing its emissions by about a fifth. We’ve effectively debunked the myth that reducing emissions harms the economy. Innovation and ingenuity seldom do.
And it’s not just a European story.
There’s more to learn from his essay. Did you know, for instance, that we spend $500 billion a year looking for new fossil fuels? If we invested that in renewable energy instead, we’d be well on the way to reversing the trend toward climate chaos.
I suggest you read his essay and take it to heart. It’s one of the few pieces on climate change that I have actually found encouraging.