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- Jul 2022
So what can we make of politicians who continue to argue that ‘1.5°C is still alive’? Are they misinformed or are they simply lying?I believe many are in denial about the types of solutions the climate crisis demands. Rather than do the – admittedly – very difficult political work of eking out our supplies of fossil fuels while accelerating a just transition to post-carbon societies, politicians are going all out on technological salvation. This is a new form of climate denial, which involves imagining large-scale carbon dioxide removal that will clean up the carbon pollution that we continue to pump into the atmosphere. While it may seem much safer to stick to the script and say that it is still physically possible to limit warming to no more than 1.5°C, while pointing out that the scale of change demands much more political will, I believe that this can no longer be a credible response to the climate crisis.We have warmed the climate by 1.2°C since pre-industrial periods. If emissions stay flat at current levels, then in around nine years the carbon budget for 1.5°C will be exhausted. And, of course, emissions are not flat – they are surging. 2021 saw the second-largest annual increase ever recorded, driven by the rebound in economic activity after Coronavirus lockdowns. We did not ‘build back better’.The clock has been stuck at five minutes to midnight for decades. Alarms have been continuing to sound. There are only so many times you can hit the snooze button.
Going all out on technological salvation is a form of climate denialism.
We are at 1.2 Deg C and emissions have climbed after rebounding after Covid. If they flatline for the next nine years, we will hit 1.5 Deg C.