For three decades, world leaders at international conferences have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greener energy sources have been developed, but emissions have continued to rise (The world is still “on the verge of climate catastrophe” after the COP27 agreement, 20 November). Even though extreme weather events have previously become normal and millions of people are displaced by weather events, there is still no sign that voters in wealthier countries are willing to vote for rationing or much higher prices for food. car use, air travel, meat eating and other particularly harmful activities.
Clearly, we urgently need a new strategy. The world’s largest economies or the United Nations have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps funded by a financial transaction tax, on carbon abatement and ocean seeding to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; management of solar radiation to reduce heating; and the purchase and protection of land such as rainforest to prevent its destruction.
The root cause of the climate crisis and the damage the world is facing, and the growing problem if we fail to reduce emissions, comes from the global fossil fuel industry which treats the atmosphere as a free cesspool for their emissions. products. It is obvious where the money for a “loss and damage” fund should come from – the fossil fuel industry November 20).
A surcharge of, say, 5% of market value on all movements of fossil fuels from mines, paid by the producer, would not only ensure a substantial cash flow, but also provide a strong incentive for the market to adopt climate technologies. friends. The fund should also be accessible to alleviate the suffering of the poorest people wherever they live.
The climate issue is primarily economic. There can be no human prosperity on a climate-wracked planet where people die on the streets in the heat, everything we build is swept away, flooded or flattened, and we can no longer produce food to feed ourselves. In the face of such events, people will ask for a return to a safe climate, not just some money to try to repair the damage. The historic agreement we need is one on how to regulate the way the market works so that it rewards activities that feed the future rather than emissions-based activities that destroy it.
Damian Carrington is right (The 1.5°C climate target is dead at COP27 – but hope is not, 20 November), but his analysis overlooks the tragedy of the commons. There is a limit to the pain governments are willing to ask their citizens to accept for the long-term good of the world, unless enough other countries can be trusted to do the same. Do we seriously believe that the most polluting countries will take urgent action that harms their national interests for the good of the world? On what evidence could we justify such beliefs?
Irrational hope is not an acceptable basis for national security; it’s time for realism. In addition to taking our strongest actions to slow global warming, we should accept that it will continue to increase for decades and that this will cause severe famine, drought, floods and loss of habitable land. We must prepare for the consequences, which are likely to include mass migrations and wars to defend or gain access to vital resources.
As a nation, we can’t prevent catastrophe on our own, but we can start discussing what will happen and how soon, and how that should affect where we build, what defenses we will need, and how we sustain access to food and other vital resources. resources. Failing to plan would be the ultimate irresponsibility.
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
The sad failure of COP27 and the government’s “deliberate amnesia” on Covid (They said we would “build back better” after Covid. What a breathtaking deception, 20 November) are not separate issues. They are part of the trinity of existential risk: the third is the always lurking danger of nuclear weapons. We need to recognize how these are related. The same vested interests, the same short-term vision, the same political hoaxes keep us from addressing these global threats and the underlying poverty and inequality that have been documented for decades.
If we are to stand a chance, and it is slim, our analysis must go deeper and understand why warning signs have been consistently missed. And the various campaigns and protests must agree that they are facing a single challenge that must be tackled together, with a long-term vision of a completely different world.