This 1.5 degree Celsius target has been talked about as increasingly impossible to meet. However, this target is essential – many of the worlds low level islands long-term survival leans on this.
Here, an expert is suggesting that we might survive. This is some positive belief that we have been in short supply of, in the last few years.
“Despite the scale of the challenges, I feel more optimistic than i felt two years ago” he added “Solar photovoltaic installations and electric vehicle sales are perfectly in line with what we said that they should be, to be on track to reach net zero by 2050, and thus stay within 1.5C. Clean energy investiment in the last two years have seen a staggering 40% increase”.
We are by not yet there, it is very much the case that we need to keep working hard.
The targets that he set, include a tripling of clean energy by 2030 and a 75% reduction in methane emissions by the same date, and a desire to see these targets come out of the COP28.
It was only 3 years ago that the government said from 2030 there would be no more combustion engine, yet his most recent decision rolls this back (though it should be noted that he is still aiming for 80% electric car sales by 2030) along with reducing the requirements landlords to insulate their homes so it is cheaper for their renters to heat their home.
The treaty in question is called the Energy Charter Treaty, and apparently if changes are not made by November we will look at exiting.
What is in this egregious rules? Well, it would be run with a system of secrets of courts, and it would allow a company to sue any signature country should they bring an a law that might cut their profits in the future.
Given that any cuts in coal use, oil use, wood or many other things would impact many companies bottom line. Given that coal and oil use must cease within the next couple of decades, and only wood from land that would be replanted, the vast majority of companies would have their profits hit.
This foolish treaty would either lead to governments abandoning all carbon reduction targets, or paying large companies billions for all time.
This treaty is not centuries old, rather, it came into being back in 1998, at a time where we knew about climate change. France is similarly talking about quitting. Other countries are also looking at leaving, and it is thankfully likely to collapse.
It is strange how this possible became a treaty, as this plan is insane.
Climate change effects are not restricted to the third world (though very often the impact is felt more harshly here).
In the USA the volume of water in the Colorado river has fallen by the volume of lake Mead in 23 years – this is the equivalent of 15 billion Olympic sized swimming pools. More than 40 million people rely on this river for their water – along with millions of acres of farm land.
Despite the drought that has hit the area, scientists have calculated that the water loss would not have had anywhere near the effect without the human caused climate change.
This may simply be early signs of things to come in the USA
Grey wolves from Oregon now appear to be thriving in California (where they disappeared from about 100 years ago).
Wolves have never been reintroduced to California, instead they were returned to Yellowstone, re-entered Oregan back in 1999, and then entered California in 2008.
Short of a sudden sustained assault on their numbers, they are back in California and are likely to multiply over the next few decades to take back up their position as apex predators. This should not be feared in any way, with sensible management, it could end up benefiting California, with healthier ecosystems, less car crashes caused by wildlife amongst many other benefits.
A total of 3000 cars caught fire on the ship, but where did the fire start?
The ship was 199m long and started on the ship while it was on route from Germany to Egypt. It caught fire off the coast of Holland. Of the 3000 cars, 350 of the cars are Mercedes and 25 were electric.
The fire has not been good, and one person has died as a result. However, what is clear is that a large number of media sources have blamed the electric cars before anyone has worked out what is happening.
Despite all our promises, Rishi Sunak (the UK prime minister) has vowed to max out the UK fossil fuels reserves.
Now there are several stupid issues with this position.
We are an island nation – the melting of the ice caps will hit us hard, so reneging on our commitments is likely to hit us harder than most
He has at other times suggested that we can be leaders in the green transition – well not now (and there is far more money in the future than there is in oil in the north sea)
50% of carbon emissions come from road transport. It is likely that the vast majority of this will be electrified in the next couple of decades, which means that the world will need less oil by the time these fields start coming on like
He suggests that this is to allow us to drill our own oil and keep emissions down, yet our extraction emissions are actually far higher than much of the world.
He also suggested that by drilling our own oil it would bring down prices, yet only around 20% of this oil comes to the UK, and all of it is traded at the current world price so this will not relieve prices for home owners one bit.
He has also suggested that in some way, the war in Ukraine is what has required this move – only 4% of our oil came from Russia. As to Ukraine, while we may have imported some grain, we do not import any oil from there.
More insanely, Rishi Sunak suggested that this was an essential plank of our move to net zero. Unfortunately, he argues that it is cleaner because it causes less emissions to drill near the UK. This would be slightly true if our oil could be extracted with similar emissions to elsewhere, however, we cant. Once the oil is put in huge tankers, the carbon footprint per litre is so small it does not overcome the extra emissions for extraction.
There are some fears that this is signalling a swing right in politics after the loss of Boris Johnsons seat in the byelection that his resignation caused.
He has argued that this will help our move to net zero, but many Tory MP fear that this will simply lead to them loosing their seat at the next election. I think that this will lead to many problems, and shows that he really is not up to being PM at a time like this. It shows a lack of understanding of what the country needs – even suggesting that this will keep gas prices down in the 2050s is foolish – between now and then, every boiler in the country will fail, and should be replaced with a heat pump, which then wont need the oil or gas anyway.
He did pair this announcement with 2 more carbon usage and storage centres. However, it is thought that the new oil fields that he has announced will give roughly 500 million barrels of oil (about 80 billion litres). Put differently, the carbon dioxide released from a barrel of oil during its use, is roughly 426kg of carbon dioxide (for reference one litre of petrol used in your car emits around 2.3 kg of carbon dioxide directly, though these emissions would likely double if you include extraction refinement and transport of the petrol before it enters your car) which means that the carbon dioxide released by these licences is likely to be around 213000 mega (million) tonnes of carbon dioxide. For reference, our current emissions as a country is about 313 megatonnes a year, so this is huge.
This is not a positive step for the people of the UK, so I am not sure what he is doing it for – the oil and gas companies? While I recognize his reason is that he wants to make sure the UK has enough oil and gas to be fuel independent, if the transition is successful, much of this oil will have to end up as stranded assets, and it seems reasonable for oil and gas companies to demand their money back with large interest, when the government is forced to change its mind.
There is a great deal of time in the media given over to cutting our carbon footprint. To be clear, this is essential – we need to cut our carbon footprint as much as we possibly can.
My family have recently bought an electric car (second hand) and this has probably reduced our emissions by 2.5 tonnes a year directly (let alone indirectly, which is often far higher – think of the carbon footprint of extracting refining and transporting the petrol from the earth to your car – usually easily doubling the carbon emissions coming out of the tail pipe).
We are currently in talks of having a heat pump installed (I hope that this goes well) and perhaps having the same people install our solar panels and thermal solar panels (those who have been reading this blog for a long time will remember me getting them a long time ago, it has been bizarrely hard to find someone to install at a sensible price).
These moves probably combine to reduce our housing emissions to near zero – we have carbon neutral electricity as well a to reduce our gas use to zero.
So why do I run a website that is intended to simplify wild travel? It is simple! No one has yet found a model which pays locals for the wildlife that lives on the doorstep. Tourism is good at doing this. Now it is true that most wildlife is a significant distance away, which means that air travel is required. However, if as a country, we reduce our housing carbon footprint by 5+ tonnes each, per year (on average the emissions per person is around 5 tonnes per year, so for a family of 4 this is a reduction of about 25%) then a flight, preferably in cattle class and on a modern efficient plane, is not going to greatly increase our carbon footprint.
More important, if everyone in the west stops ecotourism trips, what benefit is there for locals in western Africa to retain their rainforest? A small number of visitors is likely to greatly increase the standard of living of remote communities, as well as giving incentive for thousands of square miles of rainforest to remain standing.
Carbon offset schemes are also a good idea, though much care must be taken in picking what to support (and often doing it directly is better). As this website grows, I hope to set up a scheme that does it properly. You should be looking for projects which will either reduce emissions (new green electricity generation, reforestation- with native crops, that will be left standing, and many more)
The fact of the matter is, that if all of us who are lucky enough to live in the west stop engaging in eco-travel, this removes the incentive for countries around the world to retain their wilderness and wildlife. Worse, ecotourism can give livelihoods in wild places all over the country which if removed, would require entire ecosystems to be cleared. We must be careful, and keep our carbon footprint for this travel low, but feeling smug about not flying will not keep rainforests standing, coral reefs intact, mangroves where they are and many many more