The IPCC has just published an updated global assessment on the progress of mitigation of Climate Change and of government pledges to reduce emissions. It makes for stark reading.

(Mitigation means cutting future greenhouse gas emissions. Sadly we cannot take the existing emissions out of the atmosphere.)

Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

Put very simply, our carbon emissions are still increasing and with them the devastation of Climate Change. In 2021 in Glasgow at COP26 world leaders pledged to try and keep global warming to under 1.5 degrees Centigrade. At present we are heading to at least 3 degrees Centigrade of warming.  It is hard to imagine the hell that will be to live in.

We must stop using fossil fuels

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, spoke this week about governments and business leaders who have made pledges on the reduction of emissions. “Some governments and business leaders are saying one thing and doing another. Simply put, they are lying.”

The war in Ukraine has only exacerbated this situation with some European leaders saying they will go back to drilling for oil and gas.

What does that mean for our children’s future?

It means limitations to food production, water scarcity, inundation of coastal cities and extreme weather such as forest fires, droughts, flooding and chaos for at least half the world’s population. It means millions of climate refugees searching for a safe place to live, and an extreme loss of biodiversity. It means new threats to our health from microbes that spread in different environments.

It means, according to the IPCC that the future rests in our hands.

Polluting Power Stations

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

How can we grasp that future?

A well-respected climate scientist, Michael Mann has said in his latest bookThe New Climate War – The Fight to Take Back our Planet” that fossil fuel and other polluting companies are fighting a war of disinformation in order to prolong our use of those fossil fuels. He believes that they are working with the media to spread the idea that it is our individual actions alone that are responsible for the trouble we are in.

So according to them we are bad people if we take flights on holiday, if we eat too much meat or if we don’t buy electric cars.

He feels this is designed to take our eyes off the chaos created by the use of fossil fuels, and the fact that the fossil fuel companies and their funders are destroying our planet and our children’s futures for profit.

We need individual action and system change

He states very clearly that individual actions are important and that we must continue to make our contributions to reducing carbon emissions. BUT he is also clear that we need to change the system at the same time. In other words, we need to change society’s priorities and government investment. We need to be moving to renewable energy, low carbon transport, insulating our houses better and changing our eating and growing habits. We need to do it now. Only governments can make the investments and policies required for that sort of change.

So what we need is collective action aimed at pressurising policy makers who are in a position to make those changes. Governments and businesses have many priorities, but none as important to the long-term future of the planet as these ones.

There are a number of good examples of how our future might look if we took our courage in both hands and we started to really make clear to these policy makers what we wanted to see. However, we need government policies to hold the polluters to account.

  1. A short video on You Tube by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of the US House of Representatives about the possibility of a Green New Deal in America. It is called A Message from the Future.
  2. Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Bill which he is trying to get through the Senate. This has been held up by the selfishness of one or two Senators. It is well worth reading as it shows what change is possible in the life of the average American and to the future of our planet.

We can create a better world

Photo by Doreen Hosking


We owe it to our children to have the courage to change. It is very easy, even now, to put our heads in the sand and pretend this terrible situation doesn’t exist, or that there is nothing we as individuals can do about it.

I do not believe that is true.

The Guardian has just printed an article by a climate scientist who chained himself to the entrance of a JP Morgan Chase building in Los Angeles. (Morgan Chase have been the world’s largest funder of fossil fuels, pouring more than $316 billion into the fossil fuel industry from 2016 to 2020.)

The scientist describes himself as a desperate father. He is a member of a group called Scientist Rebellion, 1200 scientists from 26 countries who all have similar feelings of desperation. But they are acting.

This amazes me as scientists have been traditionally quite reticent in their protests.

It makes me feel hopeful though that even now we can act together to demand change from our governments.

What can we do as individuals?

We must act and act visibly. Even when we think it can do no good. We never know how our actions can motivate and inspire other people, but very often they do.

We must get together in our communities and create something. Don’t be shy! Just get started. Even if it is just a cup of tea and a chat it can lead on to amazing actions.

Get together in groups and write to the government wherever you are. Go and see your representative and tell them the government is not sticking by its pledges. Insist they do.

Get together in groups and write to the local press. Tell them to call the government to account.

Campaign for the production of renewable energy. Tell your government that nuclear is not the answer.

Remember that we have almost all the solutions and we know how to change the way we are living. All we lack is the political will. That won’t change unless we insist en-masse.

Don’t forget the smaller things that we all need to be doing, like cutting down on our meat consumption, travelling in a more environmentally friendly way, recycle, use less plastic and so on.

Remember we can force them to make a change. We can create a better future for our families. We just have to have the courage and determination to do it.

Thank you for your support.

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