By Jane Edwards
When a government signs up to net zero by 2050 it’s portrayed as audacious goal, rather than a delay tactic. Really? They need 29 years to get to zero emissions? These same governments have already been on notice for over 30 years! Whereas, the Australian Energy Market Operator, who we assume knows something about the grid, wants the grid to manage 100% renewables by 2025!
Governments around world have signed us all up to a suicide pact: animals, plants, you, your children. Yet we are
expected to give a standing ovation when any government takes a small step in the right cdirection, as inadequate as it may be.
Many pro-climate action voices have bought into the idea that change must occur within our current business-as-usual, don’t-scare-the-horses, neoliberal frame. Concepts such as protecting nature, quality jobs, affordable housing, education, only get occasional lip service with the ludicrous suggestion that ‘trickle down economics will take care of it’.
But business-as-usual frame (in beige below) tweaked to provide some green subsidy is far from the emergency frame (in green) we need to be in if we want a chance at a future for ourselves and our kids.
For a chance at a future, we need to be acting like the house is on fire. Governments have been promising incremental change for three decades, over which time greenhouse gas concentrations have dramatically increased, increasing warming impacts and setting off all the major feedback loops (tipping points) that were theoretical when governments first started promising incremental change.
We need to be reducing greenhouse gas concentrations and reaching huge net negative emissions. It’s all doable and can only be good for us in by any measure, though not so good for the balance sheets of people emitting obscene amounts of greenhouse gases and mining coal and gas.
We save the planet not via suggestive ‘economic signals’ but by hands on steering down the right path:
We achieve a safe future by dropping the ponzi scheme of perpetual GDP growth. Instead we adopt a model such as Doughnut Economics (image on right). The idea that we shape society to live within the limiting boundaries of climate change, pollution, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss etc. while maximising societal wellbeing measures across housing, equity, education, political voice, etc.
So simple, so far removed from what we are doing. What the hell are we waiting for?
Naturally, feel free to facebook like articles on a government taking an incremental step in the correct climate direction, but point out how far they are from where we need to be.
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Authors on this page are members of Vote Planet's executive committee and associates.