Climate Change – Don’t Give Up – Or Are We Screwed?

Following the release of the latest IPCC report on climate change, is your response swinging wildly between “we’re screwed so why bother” and “we can do this – don’t give up on climate change yet “?  I thought I would take a look at the positive initiatives and trends in this post. Can we make massive changes to our economies and lifestyle?  My next post will look at the more gloomy outlooks.

Of all the articles and presentations I have seen in recent years, this one from Tony Seba has given me the most hope. I recommend you watch it from start to finish.  It will have you radically re-thinking your views of the speed of the transition away from fossil fuels.

Tony sets out a very compelling case for a massive disruption we’re going to see in the next 10 years in both transport and energy. He has analysed past major disruptions such as the change from horse and cart to vehicles at the beginning of the 19th century – the change to mobile phones and then to smartphones around the turn of the 20th century. He has also analysed the steeply dropping cost curve for both electric vehicles and renewable energy and the advances in autonomous vehicles. Seba predicts that as early as 2025 – 2030,  close to 100% of all new cars purchased will be electric, and most of those will be autonomous.  For most people, especially in cities and large towns owning a car will make economic sense. Renewable energy will bring on a similar massive disruption in energy markets.  These changes will be driven by pure economics.

He has made similar bold productions in the past and proved to be correct. If Seba is on the money with his projections then the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy in both the transport and energy fields will be much more rapid than we expect.

Ron Oram in his latest Newsroom column also takes a positive look at developments in New Zealand including a good chance of a cross-party consensus on a Zero Carbon Bill and new Climate Commission, and the formation of the Climate Leaders Coalition – in which the CEOs of 60 major companies which account for nearly 50% of New Zealand’s emissions have signed up to serious reduction targets.

But with clowns like Donald Trump in the White House is this going to be enough?

The latest UN climate change report warned that humankind has only about 12 years at most to make massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if we want to keep global warming to 1.5°C.  In just 12 years – the world’s economies must phase out 78 per cent of coal, 37 per cent of oil, and 25 per cent of gas relative to 2010 usage levels. By 2050, those figures are still more stark: Coal should decline by 97 per cent, oil by 87 per cent, and gas by 74 per cent.