We only have eight years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If we do not succeed, the risk is imminent that the global temperature rise will continue on its own and will endanger all human life.
That conclusion has been drawn by scientists from 130 countries who participated in the UN Climate Panel. The researchers agree that it is the man himself who is guilty of approaching a climate disaster. Above all, it is the enormous and accelerating consumption of oil and coal in the industrial world that threatens the climate.
According to the researchers, today’s emissions mean that the Earth’s temperature will rise by two degrees in the coming decades. The consequences will be severe: desertification, glacier melting, flooding, tropical storms, and freshwater shortages.
With a two-degree temperature rise, we are dangerously close to the pain limit for what nature can tolerate. But we seem to be heading there inevitably. The big fate question is whether we can then get the temperature curve to level out.
The response time is short. By 2015, greenhouse gas emissions must begin to reduce. And a minor reduction is not enough. In the longer term – after a few decades – global emissions must have decreased by between 50 and 85 percent.
Will the countries of the world manage to achieve such a rapid change? And will they have the stamina required?
The US is the number one environmental law
Obviously, efforts in individual countries are insufficient. International cooperation and internationally binding rules are required. How each country should go must be able to vary, the key is that each country can handle its quota. No free riders are allowed.
The number one environmental law in the world is the United States. The country alone accounts for a quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Per capita, US emissions are three times greater than in Europe, ten times greater than in China and Latin America.
The EU’s goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020. The ambition is lawful, not least because the EU can thus put pressure on the US. However, how the goal is to be achieved is still unclear. The idea of relying on emissions trading is a deceptive rail solution.
In practice, it will lead to the rich countries buying up the emission rights of the poor countries in order to maintain a high consumption of fossil fuels themselves. The result is that the poor countries are sentenced to eternal poverty in order for the rich countries to continue to dirty the atomic sphere.
The rich countries must do the most
Any politically feasible solution to the climate issue must be based on long-term emissions per capita being approximately equal in each country. This presupposes that the reduction will be manifold in the rich countries and that the poor countries will be assisted in investing in environmentally friendly technologies.
In fact, it is a double distribution problem: partly how the emission reduction should be distributed among the countries and partly how it should be distributed within the countries.
The latter is also a sensitive issue. Two annual flights to destinations outside Europe cause the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions that a Swedish normal car driver achieves during one year. Anyone who can afford several charter aviation scams and own car will inevitably carry much more on the environment than one who can neither afford one or the other.