Those who strive to make the math work backwards, invoking large-scale carbon removal later this century, also generate new dissonance. We see the headlines about Stripe and its tech allies pledging to eliminate $925 million – perhaps without realizing that the IPCC has already factored into almost all of its lower warming scenarios the fact that by 2050 , every year, several billion tons of carbon will be removed from the atmosphere. We reflexively nod our heads at proposals to plant a trillion trees, not realizing that doing so, as climatologists like David Ho have pointed out, would set the carbon clock back less than eight months at global levels. current broadcasts. (Also, trees are burning, unfortunately; last year, in fact, the carbon released by wildfires exceeded that released by every economy in the world except the United States and China. )
The climate and the world are changing. What challenges will the future bring and how should we respond to them?
In this new world, it’s natural to want a neat fable, a clear direction. If you had to choose just one story to tell, the most descriptive is probably this: warming will get significantly worse than today, with the damage created primarily by the world’s rich hitting the world’s poor. But climate change is not just a morality story like this, and the way we view the short-term future is not a simple, binary choice between two poles of mood affiliation – the good and bad news, optimism and pessimism, damage or resilience. It is likely to trigger all of these at once, as well as a great deal of suffering and social fragmentation. Between the (now unlikely) worst cases and the (even more unlikely) best cases lies an ugly confusion, through which we are already wading now – weaving our way to anything that could qualify, even by degraded standards, like a relatively safe shore.
Learn more about hypocrisy
Lefty Substack-er Judd Legum on ESG and investor hypocrisy, from his invaluable Popular.info newsletter.
Climate change minimizer Bjorn Lomborg strikes a similar note, about the empty promises of the world’s rich nations, in The Wall Street Journal.
The GFANZ alliance of climate-conscious investors organized by former Bank of England and Bank of Canada chief Mark Carney has been ‘accused of exploiting loopholes and ‘greenwashing’ engagement climate,” writes Fiona Harvey in The Guardian. It finds that the 450 major banks that make up the $130 trillion alliance, announced with great fanfare at COP26, “can still invest unlimited amounts in coal mining and coal power, despite promises to tighten the rules on their loans”.
“Fund flows to ESG equity ETFs turned negative last month,” writes Nat Bullard.
In May 2020, the European Commission pledged to plant three billion trees by 2030 as part of a biodiversity program. “Two years later, however, the EU is far from this goal. A tracking tool launched in December 2021 to track progress shows that as of June 15, the EU had planted 2,946,015 trees, not even 1% of the three billion target,” according to Euractiv.