Someone born today in the United Kingdom will have a life expectancy which, during his or her lifetime, will probably be much more than 85 years. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 85 years is about the length of time that we must phase out fossil fuel burning if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. We have, they think, a decent lifetime to provide lifetimes for the billions of people yet to be born.
A great deal can happen in a lifetime. In my lifetime we have seen great changes in energy use, from coal to oil and natural gas, with nuclear fission thrown in and with tiny amounts of renewable energy, so I suppose we can hope for the best and think that the IPCC is wrong or that humanity will put its long term future above its short term greed.
I have doubts whether the generalisation of the IPCC’s statement that I have made is right. I believe that we must do more than stop burning fossil fuel to avoid catastrophic climate change; we must stop burning wood, wood chip and oil made from plants and seeds. We must use the power of the sun and the wind to provide electricity and heat.
This will involve a great deal of change during the lifetime of someone born today. The change may frighten some, but I cannot see an alternative.
Filed under: carbon dioxide, carbon emissions, climate change, energy, global warming | Tagged: burning, catastrophic climate change, climate change, fossil fuel, fossil fuel burning, intergovernmental panel on climate change, IPCC |