Photo: NASA public stock
A decade ago, science predicted most of the climate change happening today in 2019 – David Attenborough’s 2007 documentary described the biggest climate modelling program undertaken at that time.
The predictions made for 2050 and 2080 were salutary.
Reviews of predictions from 1970 and 2016 show that they were also not too far off from what is actually occurring.
No-one knows for sure though what the future holds. There’s a very small chance it might be tolerable without any need for action. And there’s a realistic chance the impact will be on the same scale as nuclear war or mass extinction.
Likeliest is something in-between, varying between “highly undesirable” and catastrophic, depending on who you are and where you live in the world.
As well as this range of different predictions with different likelihoods of occurring, the scientists make the predictions for different futures, varying from “business as usual” with no let-up in CO2 emissions, through to scenarios where we manage to cut right back and hold global warming to within 1.5°C.
The best future involves cutting global carbon emissions to zero, and within a seemingly impossibly short term time frame.
But at every opportunity, politicians and world leaders prove themselves unable to execute the massive, comprehensive set of legislation and fiscal and monetary measures to do this.
In the 50 years since we’ve known about climate change and CO2 emissions, there have been no adequate programs. Emissions continue to rise and will carry on rising under current circumstances until 2040. Economic research groups like the IEA who published this in November 2019 base their predictions on realistic expectations of policy achievements.
Civilisation is not doomed though. Instead of a massive but ineffective political approach, we can put a massive commercial mechanism in place – Total Carbon Rationing. The political debate will then focus on how much to ration, and not on a thousand other things.
Total Carbon Rationing would put the rations into the hands of each citizen, and the rations would apply comprehensively to every purchase or sale by every citizen or business. The rations would be required in every channel of commerce and would flow through the economy to end up ultimately with the fossil fuel producers in the oil industry.
The oil industry would have to prove how many carbon rations they obtained from the sale of their products, which would act as permits to pump. Each kilo of ration would have to be presented for each kilo of carbon pumped out of their oil or coal or gas fields.
So since the oil companies will have to demand a ration on any sale as well as money or they’ll get into trouble, then their customers will have to demand rations on all the products that they sell, and so will the customers of their customers, and so on going all the way up through the chain to the end consumer. It will be the individual citizens who decide where in the economy the ever-reducing carbon emissions are channelled.