Are today’s emerging political forces enough to save our environment? This article considers the reality of our climate situation, how politicians are failing to address it, and what needs to change to achieve environmental security.
Our environment is running out of time when it comes to the threats of climate change. According to the major report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the rate of emissions being released into the atmosphere is part of a seriously threatening trend. More reports by the IPCC have continued the conversation, seeing dozens of meetings internationally and countless papers produced about the topic.
There have been so many opportunities to understand climate change:
- The IPCC’s reports are strong and credible indicators of emission problems.
- Many reports and subsequent meetings highlight the issue.
- The climate trend threatens us all, and the time is running out for us to take action on emissions and other concerns.
Despite this awareness, emissions have still increased during the 1990s and continue to do so at a dangerous rate. A quarter of the century later, leadership has not been able to adequately address this well-known issue and only references solutions like carbon capture and storage of nuclear energy that demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of what climate change is. Rather than a single point issue, climate change is actually an accumulation of problems. It’s too much carbon in the atmosphere as well as rising sea levels, amongst other things.
The Paris Agreement saw commitments to 1.5C and 2C in temperature changes, but the amount of carbon budgeting that change would require and the amount of action that has taken place mean this goal is unachievable by 2030 at its current rate.
The facts the Paris Agreement tried to deal with and how it’s been inadequate:
- The Paris Agreement alone is not enough.
- Governments need to enforce laws to reduce emissions.
- At this rate, it is already too late.
There have been several proposed solutions to climate change, but these solutions typically look at bandage approaches. They don’t address the core issue of climate change, the extractive industry, and the powers in the system that keep the corporations who benefit from extraction on top. Instead, they focus on “mitigation” and create fear amongst the general population who rely on how they negotiate terms to address climate change issues around the globe. Furthermore, as banks entered a crisis, it became evident the errors in the free market model’s self-regulation and allocation of resources. It highlighted how politics quickly interfere in the distribution of finances.
Key failures include:
- The banking crisis indicates emergency response can be effective.
- Unaccountable information and media worsen the situation.
- The allocation of finances is tightly controlled and determines how effective solutions will be.
As more and more people become aware of the climate crisis as well as the loopholes enabling corporations, it is becoming increasingly acceptable to seek governmental intervention. This comes at a critical time with the increasingly accessible, lower-cost renewable energy threatens the fossil fuel industry. Combine this with the concerns to human health caused by fossil fuel emissions and the topic has also entered the realm of a public health concern.
What is really needed now is a place where climate research is unbiased and honest about its findings to prevent political bias in policymaking. Without this bias, we could see a world where resources do not get allocated to banks but rather go towards funding the retrofits in buildings and establishing power stations free of carbon. Such a new tune could bring jobs locally, eliminate fuel poverty, create a healthier environment, and many other benefits.
- Corporations influence greatly the outcome of policy and the ability to tackle climate change before it worsens.
- Climate research continues to be used by these corporations, either by silencing the findings or taking the parts of it that will advance their personal agendas.
- Addressing climate change would take away power from the corporations and create new jobs, healthier environments, and other positive things for the general public.
Achieving this kind of success in the political atmosphere would require a different kind of progressive approach. The problem is recent trends make this seem unlikely, including the rise of such politicians as Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Jeremy Corbyn.
So long as the elites stay in power and control the political agenda, we will continue to fail to achieve the sustainability goals we need to save the environment from climate change and other threats. It will take a serious revamping of the government and its motivations, of checks and balances for corporations, and of honest and public research information before we can achieve our environmental goals.
If you are interested in sustainability matters or energy concerns, please contact us to get more information or be assessed. Together we can protect our environment a bit more every day.