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RealClimate: Forced responses: Sep 2021

Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist releases The Kraken.

There are two fatal flaws with “net zero by 2050.”

One is “net zero.” The other is “by 2050”.

Fixating on ‘net zero’ means betting the future of life on Earth that someone will invent some kind of whiz-bang tech to draw down CO2. Forget plans to lower emissions by 2050 – this is deadly procrastination

As a climate scientist, I am terrified by what I see coming. I want world leaders to stop hiding behind magical thinking and feel the same terror. Then they would finally end fossil fuels.

The main point of the piece: the only way out of this crisis is for society to shift into climate emergency mode. “Net zero by 2050” makes this impossible.

When people say “there’s no way we can go that fast” it is because they have NOT made the shift into emergency mode yet. They are still prioritizing this business-as-usual status quo over a habitable Earth.

That is the path to civilization collapse.

We need to directly attack the fossil fuel industry, which means an earlier goal, and – critically – binding annual targets for reductions and policy plans for achieving those annual targets.

There is so much more to write. I chose to focus on a rebuttal to “net zero by 2050.” Need more space to write on my theory of change (“we need a billion climate activists”), specific policies (e.g. nationalize the fossil fuel industry), and degrowth.

@ClimateHuman nails it in exposing the dangers of “net zero by 2050.”
“Just presuppose enough hypothetical carbon capture and you can pencil out a plan for meeting any climate goal, even while allowing the fossil fuel industry to keep growing…”

Five years ago, as a very junior climate scientist, I was indeed scared to speak out. Not any longer. It gets easier with practice, and as the culture continues to shift.

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