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“So it’s goodbye climate deniers, hello – and you’ll pardon me for being blunt here – climate bullshitters,” wrote Damian Carrington, the Guardian’s Environment Editor in a recent opinion piece. According to the latest NDC Report (Nationally Determined Contributions) were “on track for emissions to be just 0.5% below 2010 levels when what is really needed is a 45% reduction. “We are at the point where everyone agrees something must be done, but many are making only vague, distant promises of ineffective action,” writes Carrington. It’s time to counteract the climate bullshit coming at us.

The Avalanche of Climate Bullshit Coming At Us, Below2C

The following piece by Stephen Leahy is a hard-hitting reality check on the avalanche of climate lies and misinformation —bullshit—coming at us. It was previously published in Substack and reformatted for Below2C.

Reality Check

Need-to-Know 1: We already have too much fossil-fuel burning infrastructure in place to stay below 2C according to the latest science.

Need-to-Know 2: Companies continue to build more and countries are counting on increased production of coal, oil, and gas.

Need-to-Know 3: Climate impacts are already hitting hard. Around the world more damaging downpours that wipe out farmers’ crops and storms and hurricanes are stronger. Hotter temperatures are fuelling wildfires and causing crippling heat waves, where our kids can’t play outside. Sea levels are rising, which will flood tens of millions of homes.

Need-to-Know 4: There’s an avalanche of climate bullshit—doublespeak, half-truths, misinformation, political spin—roaring towards us.

Avalanche of Climate Bullshit

  • A Tar sands executive was just named a “climate champion” for a UN climate conference, COP 26 in Glasgow; as was a vice-president from Royal Bank of Canada, the fifth largest funder of coal in the world.
  • Shell’s CEO: “You need our help on climate change” meanwhile continuing to fund anti-climate lobbying.
  • Ongoing lucrative pay and share options have created an incentive for oil company executives to resist climate action.
  • Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to say climate is an “existential threat” but invested in billions to build the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.
  • Offsets — Countries and Companies say they will offset their emissions by planting trees: Nestlé’s goal of offsetting 13m tonnes of CO2 a year would require 4.4m hectares of land a year. We need another planet at that rate.
  • Countries continue to subsidize fossil fuels despite a decade of promising to eliminate these.

Language Tricks and Propaganda

Here’s some of the language tricks and propaganda being used by those who want to delay meaningful action while claiming otherwise — also known as predatory delay:

“We are all to blame for climate change.” — Both fossil fuel industry and governments use this while blocking or failing to provide us with actual alternatives. But sure, blame the victims.

“We need responsible oil and gas development to create jobs and wealth to pay for the transition to a sustainable future.” — Can’t solve a problem by making it worse. As we have seen with the pandemic, there is plenty of money when governments’ decide its necessary.

“We can have a healthy environment and a healthy economy.” — Sounds good right? Except a healthy environment is essential for human survival, it is not a nice-to-have bonus.

Framing climate change as a risk somewhere in the far future when it is our reality today.

Framing oil and gas industry as vital to the ‘national interest’ or fate of the nation when the industry’s primary purpose is to enrich shareholders regardless of their nationality.

Invoking the sanctity of the rule of law when people oppose further expansion of fossil fuel production and are labelled terrorists.

Framing environmentalism as a political ideology rather than a universal desire for self-preservation and to protect our one and only home.

There is growing acceptance we’re in a climate emergency but less awareness of the urgency. And even less understanding of sweeping changes that are needed. Even political and corporate leaders who truly understand the nature of our emergency are failing to act appropriately. I suspect they believe taking the required climate action to stay around 1.5C would lead to considerable public backlash. They’re probably right. However that backlash could be muted through smart, equitable transition planning and honest leadership.

We have turned the corner on climate change. Governments and companies have started to set emission reduction targets for 2030. Those targets aren’t yet good enough, nor are we acting on those weak targets with the required speed. Emissions in 2021 are very likely to be close to the highest ever and that’s with much less air travel.

Meanwhile scientists and others increasingly warn we are facingghastly future sooner than later unless we make those sweeping changes.

New Rules for the Climate Emergency

  1. Reward climate-safe behaviour.
  2. Punish climate transgressors.
  3. Publicly praise those who are trying to protect the environment.
  4. Name and Shame hazardous climate behaviour.
  5. If a decision to take action does not really cut carbon NOW then it’s Climate BS.

Speaking of world leaders in her Earth Day 2021 video and the shortcomings of their climate proposals thus far, Thunberg said, “Let’s call out their bullshit,” because the gap between what their rhetoric and what’s actually needed is “the biggest elephant there’s even been in any room.” 

ICYMI:
I’m Not Here To Talk About Hope, I’m Here To Talk About Fear
Creating a Balanced Future

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Creative Commons License


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Yes there is a lot of bullshit out there, which is why I pay close attention to the works of Dr. Tom Murphy, an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego.
    My recommendation — stop reading the bullshit and start paying attention to Tom Murphy.

    Murphy’s keen interest in energy topics began with his teaching a course on energy and the environment for non-science majors at UCSD. Murphy is eager to get people thinking about the quantitatively convincing case that our pursuit of an ever-bigger scale of life faces gigantic challenges and carries significant risks, including collapse. Murphy blogs at “Do the Math”, where he takes a physicist’s-eye view of societal issues relating to energy production, climate change, and economic growth, bringing clarity to complex issues, or to evaluate the potential of proposed energy solutions.
    Following is a sample of Murphy’s wisdom, which you’re unlikely to find in the mainstream media or on 99% of online, so-called “environmental” websites.
    The following Murphy quotes were collected at random from some of his recent articles —

    + The wrong question is: How can we keep our current lifestyles if we get off fossil fuels?
    + The right question is: How can we adapt our lifestyles when our ambitions are checked by planetary limits?
    + Speaking about renewables – “the scale is still very small, and at the recent impressive rate of expansion would still take over 100 years to replace current (enormous) energy appetites.
    + Even if we stopped emitting CO2 today – an absolutely unrealistic conjecture – the damage mounts as Earth’s oceans continue to warm and more ice melts, while to planet slowly coasts toward a new equilibrium bringing unknown hardships.
    +Without the language of math and science, I can’t imagine I would ever find enough conviction to buck the norms. But these tools are invaluable in poking into the future, where history runs out. Few individuals are equipped with well-honed tools of this sort, though.
    + If we want to believe that civilization is in its infancy and not near its end (i.e., if we are to reject the notion of collapse), then we should be thinking about thriving on timescales of 10,000 years or longer.
    + Our economic constructs explicitly devalue the future, which points us in the direction of maximal exploitation for short-term gain—to the obvious detriment of nature and thus our own life support.
    In other words, we let financial decisions drive the planet, and that system is not based on values and principles that promote long term sustainability. We should not be surprised if that economic train fails to deliver a viable future.
    + So what, exactly, would stop us from overshoot, over-spending the inheritance, and damaging ecosystems beyond their ability to recover? Related to the previous point, it seems unlikely that we would stop by accident or dumb luck, but only out of awareness and recognition. Please forgive me if the current global political climate does not inspire confidence.
    + As things are, we have no credible global plan that addresses global problems.
    + How are we going to supply energy needs without fossil fuels?
    + It isn’t good enough to say “solar and wind,” without specifying how we deal with the glaring mismatch between demand and intermittent energy availability.
    + What would we use to provide sufficient storage? Do we have the materials and means to make enough battery capacity?
    + What is our strategy for battery upkeep and replacement?
    + How will we afford the new scheme and its prohibitive up-front costs?
    + What about agriculture: how do we permanently fix soil degradation; aquifer depletion?
    + How do we halt deforestation, habitat loss, and resulting permanent extinctions?
    + What is the specific global governance plan to protect planetary resources and deal with the consequences of climate change?
    + How do we structure economies to be complacent and functional without a foundation in growth?
    + How are we going to supply energy needs without fossil fuels?
    + It isn’t good enough to say “solar and wind,” without specifying how we deal with the glaring mismatch between demand and intermittent energy availability.
    + What would we use to provide sufficient storage? Do we have the materials and means to make enough battery capacity?
    + What is our strategy for battery upkeep and replacement?
    + How will we afford the new scheme and its prohibitive up-front costs?
    + What about agriculture: how do we permanently fix soil degradation; aquifer depletion?
    + How do we halt deforestation, habitat loss, and resulting permanent extinctions?+
    + What is the specific global governance plan to protect planetary resources and deal with the consequences of climate change?
    + How do we structure economies to be complacent and functional without a foundation in growth?

  2. about time to look into a real possibly viable geoengineering techno fix controlling hurricanes to cool the ocean and cool the earth??

    5% more clouds over the ocean to reflect enough ray’s from the sun to counter all the greenhouse gasses emitted by man (or was it the industrial age)

    hurricanes are still an enigma to most scientists and have been found by satellite to emit gamma rays. most scientists do not even know this

    so much more to the project like ways not to kill billions of people and advanced methods to help put a stop to the 7 animals per person per second the earth no longer supports in this extinction event

    so much crap over the past 20 years and still need to explain the laws of thermodynamics to professors who go over submissions for multiple journals and mute me when i try to explain how clouds over the ocean provide a cooling effect

    just so tired of it all but whatever
    https://climatesolution.weebly.com/

    • Charles – thank you for the feedback.

      There are hundreds of good solutions to slow down the warming of the planet and for reversing climate change. What is missing is political will.

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