The past years were the hottest on record. Yet we’re on track to burn more fossil fuels
(The Guardian, 14 Nov 2023) A new report says many countries are increasing their oil and gas production. Delegates to Cop28 must confront this crisis.
Let me see if I have this right.
A vast majority of the world’s best climate scientists have told us again and again that to maintain a stable and liveable planet, we, the human race, must reduce the burning of fossil fuels – and emissions of greenhouse gases – by half by 2030. And end emissions altogether by 2050. Knowing this, what are we on track to do?
Just the opposite. According to a new United Nations-backed report, many countries – Russia, Saudi Arabia, the US and others – will increase coal, oil and gas production. So much so that by 2030 humans worldwide will burn more fossil fuels (and load our atmosphere with more greenhouse gas emissions) than at any time in our history.
Unless we turn things around, and soon, this could be our greatest failure: how a single intelligent species abandoned its better, wiser self and destroyed its own home.
It’s not the first time we’ve imperiled our global wellbeing. Consider thermonuclear war. But while it requires an overt act of aggression, the climate crisis (and yes, a growing number of scientists now say it’s a full-on crisis) requires only business as usual. Profit over planet; competition over cooperation. It’s been going on for a long time, but now, with 8 billion of us hustling, bustling, coming and going, it’s beginning to cost us dearly.