Climate Change: The Facts – how it falls short

This is a really informative and inspiring documentary on climate change, presented by David Attenborough. While it mentions the decades-long influence of the fossil fuel industry in sowing doubt around the science, it goes on to focus on what we can do personally about climate change. Perhaps a political statement is too sensitive for a BBC broadcast, but broad political mobilisation is the only strategy that can count, on the timescale of 10 years we have.

The Facts should have made mention of at least one of the widely supported solutions that give us a fighting chance:

• international recognition of, and a legally binding response to, the 10 year deadline the IPCC scientific report has set to avoid “”rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” – thanks US and 3 other countries, for stopping the rest of the world from welcoming the report at the 2018 climate talks; 

• redirecting astronomical producer subsidies for fossil fuels (hundreds of billions of dollars per year, despite the fossil fuel industry being the most profitable on earth) to renewable energy and energy efficiency (including research), climate smart agriculture and other forms of sustainable agriculture, nature-based solutions, the global deal for nature and ecosystems-based adaptation. Using nature in the fight against climate change recaptures carbon from the atmosphere, increases peoples’ adaptation and resilience to climate change, and mitigates against species extinctions.

• a ban on further fossil fuel exploration combined with a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry; 

• halting deforestation and degradation, and actively restoring forests where they have been lost: which implies bans on (especially, and urgently, primary) deforestation on the national level (where applicable) and in supply chains.

• introduction of net-progressive carbon taxes, in combination with border carbon adjustments (a tariff based on carbon footprint of a product, so nations can take strong action while remaining competitive in trade); 

• a ban on fossil fuel corporations from participating in international climate talks (in the same way that tobacco firms are banned from WHO health talks); 

• ensuring developing countries are receiving assistance that has been committed.

Sadly, as long as we have money in politics, I’m not sure we can do this all in time.


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