Now that we’ve had a chance to consider IPCC AR5, that is, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, there’s one clear conclusion, we must stop use of fossil fuels. Of course, the question arises, “Who’s going to pay for all this?”
In spite of political posturing, regarding how world governments are going to address climate change, not a single world government is prepared to take the necessary steps. The problem is caused by human activity, specifically the exploitation of fossil fuels, which the IPCC asserts with 95% surety. The next obvious step is to stop pulling fossil fuels out of the ground and using them, which is kind of like telling a heroine addict to take the needle out of the bottle and not to stick it in his arm.
The result, of course, would be devastating withdrawal symptoms [they won’t be nearly as bad as the effects of climate change]. What needs to be done is to eliminate the addiction and replace fossil fuels with something else to supply our energy needs. The problem is twofold. First, we’re so addicted to fossil fuels that renewable energy is still just a sideshow. In fact, over the last century in the United States, renewable energy development has merely kept up with increasing energy demands, and hasn’t replaced any non-renewable energy sources.
The second problem is that money, not love as John Lennon would have us believe, makes the world go around, and developing renewable energy and energy storage systems takes a lot of money, which many countries simply do not have. Take, for example, Norway, which has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030, and is also one of the biggest fossil-fuel exporters in the world. Basically, Norway is funding its own carbon-neutral schemes by taking advantage of the world’s addiction to fossil-fuels.
Ecuador had an interesting idea, offering to leave the oil under its national parks if the world paid them half the value of the oil. Of course, that money could be used to fund renewable-energy development, but since no one wanted to front the money, Ecuador abandoned the plan, “the key factor” being “the world’s great hypocrisy,” according to President Rafael Correa.
Unfortunately, even if one or two countries completely eliminate their fossil-fuel production and consumption, right now, everyone would still suffer from the increasing effects of climate change.