Climate emergency ten-point action plan


Summary
1. Decide on the overall aim: keep global warming under 1.5°C
2. Decide on the global strategy: limit further CO2 emissions to 400 billion tonnes
3. Decide how to allocate the residual carbon budget between nations: on the basis of equity
4. Assess progress so far: minimal
5. Identify the reasons for lack of progress: poor decision making throughout society
6. Tell the truth and improve decision making
7. Plan the necessary actions: drastic cuts in emissions in rich countries
8. Take personal action: radical cuts in emissions if personally high-polluting
9. Challenge fallacies, incompetence and malpractice
10. Answer genuine objections

1. Decide on the overall aim: keep global warming under 1.5°C

It is understandable that young people want a safe climate that is similar to what adults have enjoyed (see document 61), not a world ravaged by droughts, storms, floods and rising sea levels, with more and more people forced to leave their homes and become climate refugees. The case for limiting global warming to less than 1.5°C seems overwhelming. Global warming has already reached 1.2°C, so the situation has become an emergency.

2. Decide on the global strategy: limit further CO2 emissions to 400 billion tonnes

Net zero dates do not matter; what matters is the total cumulative emissions by the net zero date. Further global emissions of CO2 need to be limited to a total 400 billion tonnes CO2 from Jan 2020, as set out in the 2021 IPCC AR6 report (see document 54). (The production in 2018 was 34 billion tonnes CO2.)

3. Decide how to allocate the residual carbon budget between nations: on the basis of equity


4. Assess progress so far: minimal

It has been known for decades that burning fossil fuels is dangerous for the climate and needs to cease. But:

5. Identify the reasons for lack of progress: poor decision making throughout society

See document 34

6. Tell the truth and improve decision making

Scientist and NGOs have been self-censoring about the severity and urgency of the climate emergency [1]. This is delaying the necessary actions.
The process of decision making must be improved.
See document 40

7. Plan the necessary actions: drastic cuts in emissions in rich countries

Annual cuts in emissions of over 10% in high-polluting countries are needed to meet their commitments in the Paris Agreement. This inevitably means major changes in lifestyles for many, especially the rich, e.g. flying is not affordable within a lifetime carbon budget of 50 tonnes per person.

The IPCC said in 2018 that "rapid and far-reaching transitions" were needed in all parts of society. There has been dither and delay by governments since then, and so the situation has become even more urgent.

8. Take personal action: radical cuts in emissions if personally high-polluting

Encourage individuals to reduce their own carbon footprint by at least 10% per year - see document 24.

9. Challenge fallacies, incompetence and misconduct

Decision making needs to be scrutinised and supervised so that competent plans are drawn up and implemented on schedule.
See document 132.

10. Answer genuine objections


References

[1]Turning delusion into climate action - Prof Kevin Anderson, an interview (2020) https://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/turning-delusion-climate-action-prof-kevin-anderson-interview

First published: Mar 2019
Last updated: 10 Apr 2022