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The climate crisis and what to do about it

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Climate crisis 10-point action plan

1. Accept that climate change is urgent and desperately important - the most important problem that humanity has ever faced.

2. Stop burning fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels is dangerous and must stop as soon as possible, ensuring that further global CO2 production is no more than the limit of 420 Gigatonnes (Gt) from 1.1.2018 set out in the 2018 IPCC SR15 report. (The production in 2018 was 34 GtCO2.)

3. Identify the barriers to stopping fossil fuel use. It has been known for decades that burning fossil fuels is dangerous for the climate and needs to cease. But use of fossil fuels has increased.
The reasons are poor decision making and corrupt decision making by people in positions of power (in government and elsewhere), due to
  • ignorance
  • arrogance
  • malpractice
  • lack of accountability

4. Tackle the ignorance. Decision-makers and the general population need to be educated about the climate crisis and about competent evidence-based consensus decision making.

5. Tackle the arrogance. We need humility from decision-makers. They should acknowledge amd apologise for the poor decisions made in the past - and they should be open to suggestions and consult citizens on their plans.

6. Tackle the malpractice, i.e. the deceit, the overclaiming, the biased decisions, the cowardice, and the deliberate procrastination. These must all be eradicated. Decisions must be made according to the established principles of science and of good government - i.e. based on honesty, evidence, transparency, human rights and appropriate consultation.

7. Ensure accountability. Decision making needs to be scrutinised and supervised so that competent plans are drawn up and implemented on schedule.
  • Decision making must be transparent
  • Statutory scrutiny processes must function properly
  • Citizens must insist that politicians and officials make good decisions, using engagement, publicity, protest and civil disobedience as necessary.

8. Phase out fossil fuels within the carbon budget indicated by the Paris Agreement by halving world CO2 emissions by 2030, and halving emissions in developed countries by 2025 by
  • an increasing carbon tax,
  • removing fossil fuels from each sector of the economy, starting with the sectors responsible for the biggest fractions of CO2 emissions i.e. motor vehicles and home heating - e.g. cancel airport expansion and new road building, plan for a rapid decline in air and motor vehicle travel, and start a comprehensive programme of home insulation.
  • encouraging individuals to reduce their own carbon footprint by at least 10% per year.

9. Ensure the poorest are protected. The poorest countries need help with their development and adaptation to climate change. Within each country, the poorest individuals must be protected e.g. carbon tax income is used to improve public transport, and to give targetted help with home insulation.

10. Review progress at suitable intervals e.g. every 6 months.


Measures advocated

Greta Thunberg

(Referring to Sweden:) Reduce carbon emissions by 15% a year: "Sweden is such a rich country and we have high per capita emissions, so we need to reduce more [than others]." (The Guardian (4 Dec 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/04/leaders-like-children-school-strike-founder-greta-thunberg-tells-un-climate-summit, viewed 3.3.19)

Via Twitter 3 Mar 2019:
"Some rules and recommendations for those on #schoolstrike4climate And if you think that 'following the Paris Agreement and IPCC' is too vague - then make sure everyone study them. They are the global tools we have at hand today. Letís use them! #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrike"


First published: Mar 2019
Last updated: 13 Nov 2019