Despite understandings made at last year’s COP26 to reduce the carbon emissions – halving them by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 – the UK government is preparing to approve the Rosebank oil field – thebiggest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea. If these two seem totally irreconcilable to you, do sign this petition:- https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stoprosebank/?link_id=11&can_id=a3029987c1ac6171de26390e6aabf63f&source=email-thats-a-wrap-stopjackdaw-week-of-action-2&email_referrer=email_1671196&email_subject=we-have-a-new-fight-on-our-hands-_-stoprosebank
In response to COP26 the five leading supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op and M&S – said they would reduce carbon emissions, deforestation and the food waste and packaging they produce.The chief executives of the supermarkets, which together serve more than half of UK food shoppers, said in a joint statement: “We recognise that a future without nature is a future without food. By 2030 we need to halt the loss of nature.” Before the end of next year(2022), they also promised to set science-based targets for how they would help to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59184278
Write to your local supermarket and ask if they are in track to meet climate change prevention targets.
Last year we were counting down to COP26 which was being held at Glasgow with the United Kingdom as host. I posed the following questions:- Are the nations, the leaders, the civil servants, the interested parties, ready? Are they equipped with ideas and proposals? Are they ready to negotiate and encourage and take bold steps to reach an agreement that will see carbon emissions reduced to net zero by 2050? Will they be sufficiently pragmatic to be generous in funding support to enable poorer countries to be part of the movement to net zero? Will they be clear sighted, seeing the bigger global issues rather than being blinkered or distracted by individual agendas? Are they going to be supported by overwhelming popular support for those policies and actions that safeguard our shared future?
The outcome was perhaps better than might have been feared, but certainly not as proactive as it might have been. One of the outcomes was that, in recognition of the severity of the crisis we face, all parties should meet again a year later to review progress and restate targets to keep the process of net zero on track. Thus it is that in 100 days from now, on 6th November, all the parties will be convening in Sharm El-Sheikh for COP27. This time the hosts will be Egypt.
Last year I also posed some questions for ourselves and I propose to repeat/ review these this year.
Can we be part of that popular support? Can we also take action regarding our own lifestyle to contribute to the net zero emissions target? Are there 100 actions we can take between now and the Conference?
Action 1: Write to your MP and let them know why you think this Conference is important and why you hope it will be a turning point in addressing the global climate crisis.
NB What does ‘net zero’ mean? Net zero refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. There are two different routes to achieving net zero, which work in tandem: reducing existing emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases.
A gross-zero target would mean reducing all emissions to zero. This is not realistic, so instead the net-zero target recognises that there will be some emissions but that these need to be fully offset, predominantly through natural carbon sinks such as oceans and forests. (In the future, it may be possible to use artificial carbon sinks to increase carbon removal, research into these technologies is ongoing.)
The term carbon bomb has been widely used in climate circles for the past decade to describe large fossil fuel projects or other big sources of carbon, but more recently has been given a more specific definition: projects capable of pumping at least 1bn tonnes of CO2 emissions over their lifetimes.
To put this figure in context, just before Covid, annual CO2 emissions peaked at about 36bn tonnes.
The IPCC report on Mitigation of Climate Change published on 4 April, specifies that emissions should peak no later then 2025 and be reduced by 43% by 2030 if we are to contain climate change and global heating at tolerably safe level. If that peak in 2025 is, say, 40bn tonnes, then globally we would need to be reducing carbon emissions by 4bn tonnes per year.
The International Energy Agency has already stated that the existing oil, gas and coal fields already in operation will provide all that is necessary to meet our demands for fossil fuels. In other words, if we are to meet our emissions reduction targets there is no need to open up new fields. This surely begs the question why anyone is investing money in expanding fossil fuel extraction or in exploring new fields? In part it may the fear of being the first to opt out – will they be exposed to risk? Will they loose out on profits? If everyone moved together it would be safer and fairer.
A recent report by the Guardian estimates that the current expansion plans of the fossil fuel industry includes 195 carbon bombs, and that the dozen biggest oil companies are on track to spend $103m a day for the rest of the decade exploiting new fields of oil and gas that cannot be burned if global heating is to be limited to well under 2C. These companies – and those investing in them – are betting that by 2030 governments will not have achieved the 43% reduction in emissions and will still be in the market to buy oil and gas. If their bet wins the world temperatures will have risen by more than 2C and we will all be suffering the worst impacts of the climate crisis. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/18/carbon-bombs-inside-the-20-may-guardian-weekly
On the other hand what could $103m a day achieve if it were invested in renewable energy? How many wind farms? How many tidal energy schemes? How many solar panels on buildings? How many heat pumps? What could it achieve if invested in climate adaptation projects? How many buildings could be insulated (against heat as well as the cold)? How many trees could be planted to absorb water and lower temperatures? How many efficient public transport schemes? How many new farming techniques, new varieties of seeds, and advanced weather ?
Action 26: Last week’s IPCC report issued us a code red warning: if we do not act now and act with sufficient magnitude, we will not be able to avert the already escalating climate emergency. Britain as the host nation of the COP26 conference in Glasgow should be leading the way putting in place not only strategies but actions too to ensure we achieve, nationally and globally, the 2050 net zero emissions target. Write to Alok Sharma the appointed President for COP26, and ask what is happening.