In the latest report on global progress in tackling the deadly combination of a climate crisis and related biodiversity crisis, the science is not lying.
As US climate envoy John Kerry told Dublin Climate Dialogues this week, we are simply not doing enough to counter their worsening effects. Current results in reducing emissions and weaning off fossil fuels while scaling up renewables will translate into a 3.7 degree increase this century – a far cry from the critical Paris Agreement target of 1.5. degree above pre-industrial levels. What about a planet close to the bottomless pit that people don’t get?
Dialogues chair Pat Cox highlighted the consequences of insufficient action: “The challenges facing global warming today are insignificant compared to what is likely to happen if we fail to act together. . “
The dialogues, an initiative of leading energy experts and academics based in Ireland, have applied the best response to this looming disaster by channeling energies into what could be done to urgently get to a better place. This was particularly about the only mechanism to relaunch a bolder global ambition – the COP26 climate negotiations hosted by the UK on behalf of the UN in November.
The result was the Dublin Declaration: a solid platform for progress. Its value was underlined by Foreign Minister Simon Coveney before being passed on to the British government after two days of deliberation.
Its precision is the opposite of the vague aspiration and the voluntary aspect of many climate agreements of the past. Like the landmark International Energy Agency (IEA) report this week on a net zero emissions energy system, it is unequivocal about where to start: “There can be no new investment in oil, gas and coal – from now on ”, as IEA director Fatih Birol put it to the dialogues.
The statement suggests that $ 130 trillion must be invested in the transition to a net zero economy by 2050, but the long-term economic benefits for the entire world will exceed $ 420 trillion by 2100 – representing “the greatest economic opportunity of this century. “. Basically, most economies would be better off in the long run by taking timely action, as the damage from global overheating would be much greater.
His assessment of the fate of the world of finance and carbon pricing strategies has considerable merit, particularly with regard to taking climate risk into account in a transparent manner and adopting ‘net zero equity’. . Left unanswered, stranded fossil fuel assets will become a colossal puzzle. It can be argued that banks are already deeply exposed and must move from greenwashing to thinking about the systemic risk of the transition.
There is so much to do. The necessary momentum can be provided by politicians who see the big picture and listen less to special interests.