How to defuse the ‘carbon bomb’ crisis

We need more than politicians’ promises to stop catastrophic drilling projects

Oliver MilmanIn Focus Image

Photo of Hannah Arendt in 1958
Hannah Arendt, political philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor. Her contributions influenced 20th and 21st century political theorists.

One of the most jarring aspects of being an environmental journalist is the inordinate time you spend covering what governments are pledging to do to help the world retain a liveable climate, only to be reminded of the bleak reality of what is actually being allowed to happen.

The climate crisis is a sprawling, messy, morphing disaster and we have no precise idea how bad it will get. Formalised agreements by countries to cut planet-heating emissions, therefore, feel like a welcome sense of control over our fate. Promises are, after all,

the uniquely human way of ordering the future”,

as Hannah Arendt put it.

But even as the world’s leaders reaffirm, as they did at Cop26 in Glasgow last year, the desire to avoid 1.5C of global heating beyond pre-industrial times, the situation is spinning dangerously in the opposite direction.

As the Guardian’s new ‘climate bombs’ series shows, there are 195 gigantic oil and gas projects underway around the world that would each result in at least one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over their lifetimes, in total equivalent to around 18 years of current global emissions. More than half have already started drilling and pumping.

The scale of these projects is immense and will, by themselves, propel the world beyond the agreed 1.5C threshold into the catastrophic wildfires, floods, drought and unrest that scientists are increasingly frantic over. If we are going to keep to a ‘safe’ global climate, not only will these nascent projects have to be scrapped, nearly half of existing fossil fuel production will have to be shut down.

Yet the dissonance from political leaders has become deafening. In the US, Joe Biden has called the climate crisis

the greatest existential threat we face”

and immediately shut down drilling on public lands when he took office. Little more than a year later, the drilling is not only back, it is set to reach record levels in 2022 in the Permian basin, a vast geological formation found under western Texas.

Biden has even taken to exhorting other countries to drill for more oil, to help lower a global oil price that has pushed up the cost of gasoline for American drivers. This about-turn is a microcosm of much of our response to climate change to date, which has resembled a person promising to quit drinking while heading to the supermarket to buy all of its Special Brew.

It’s little wonder, then, that many younger people are not only anxious about the future of the planet, but consider it to be doomed. If we want order and control over our futures, we are going to need more than promises. We are going to have to defuse all of the carbon bombs, everywhere, all at once.

Editor’s note: The link to last week’s Story of the Week – ‘Revealed: the carbon bombs set to trigger climate breakdown’ – was incorrect. You can read the story here

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Preceding

  1. Climate change has some nasty surprises in store
  2. Are you serious?
  3. The link between extreme weather and extreme inequality
  4. Composted reads for the first part of May 2022
  5. No longer have time for fruitless conferences
  6. Saving our climate is possible – but it requires action now
  7. UK convinced they are leading the way in the fight against climate change
  8. UK’s path to net zero set out in landmark strategy
  9. Each of the small voices important
  10. Young people at COP26 have to “Stay angry”
  11. Climate talks with a familiar outcome
  12. A follow-up for COP26

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Additional reading

  1. A cry in the dark by scientists and medics
  2. 2015 Ecology
  3. 2016 review Health and environment
  4. Time for world to ‘grow up’ and tackle climate change, says Boris Johnson
  5. Going for sustainable development
  6. The Climate Crisis and the Need for Utopian Thinking
  7. Challenges of the Post-Pandemic period
  8. Us and climate change – We can do much more than we think
  9. The Climate Crisis: It’s Not Just Consumers’ Faults
  10. Four ways to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously
  11. How to look back at Cop26
  12. To save, or not to save: that is the question.
  13. An Open Letter to the People Who Are Trying to Kill Us
  14. Stepping forward with public commitments for Making different sectors carbon neutral by 2050

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Related

  1. Earth: The “Present” Day
  2. Humanity tangled in ‘spiral of self-destruction’
  3. Penticton Day of Action addresses climate needs
  4. ‘Dire warning’ for the planet: Coal is fueling the economic recovery
  5. Is the climate crisis truly serious? What actions can we take?
  6. Key climate change indicators hit record highs in 2021: UN report
  7. What are Carbon Credits, and How it Can Solve The Global Carbon Emission Problem?
  8. ‘World’s major cities face increasing danger of drought’
  9. Failure to deliver COP26 pledges equal to ‘monstrous self-harm’, says Alok Sharma
  10. Aviation industry has done diddly squat to addressing its burden on the climate crisis
  11. Earth’s atmospheric CO2 hasn’t been this high in millions of years
  12. Don’t set your Watch by the Doomsday Clock
  13. Indian climate activist, 10, invited to East Timor inauguration
  14. Four key climate change indicators set new records in 2021@ “State of the Global Climate” report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  15. 1.2 billion people are at risk from extreme heat
  16. Women in rural Bangladesh bear rising cost of climate crisis
  17. Farmers to be offered grants of up to £30k for ‘greener’ practices
  18. UK has allegedly underspent £240m in green projects
  19. Ships that turn plastic waste into green fuel may be the only way to save oceans from country-sized garbage patches. A new venture believes it’s invented one
  20. The art of politics: From pervasion to perversion
  21. UK has approved several fossil fuel projects since Cop26, analysis finds
  22. First Minister in USA: Energy security drive must align with climate goals
  23. Renewable Energy Projects Worth $197 Billion Underway in India: Bhagwant Khuba
  24. How Canada can leave 83 per cent of its oil in the ground and build strong new economies
  25. Civil Society Applauds Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance Announcement, Urges Countries to End New Oil and Gas Projects

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

3 thoughts on “How to defuse the ‘carbon bomb’ crisis

  1. Hi bro Marcus

    I cannot seem to find any way to contact your via your webpage. Perhaps I missed it?

    I am hoping that this reply to your email might make it through to you.

    I am sister Beth Symes from the Dandenong Ranges ecclesia in Australia. I notice that you have posts on your blog from bro Andy Peel. I have been trying to get in contact with him for a long time about a book he has written and none of the contact details I have for him work any longer.

    If you have a way to contact him could either pass my details on to him and ask him to contact me or otherwise pass his details to me, please. I would be ever so thankful if I could get in touch with him.

    With hope and faith

    Your sister in Christ

    Beth Symes

    Like

    1. Dear Sister Beth,

      Normally a person can leave a message on one of the pages or on an article https://marcusampe.wordpress.com as well getting my e-mail address via de link to my Google profile page. Christadelphians also can find all my co-ordinates via the Calls Diary.

      Reacting via a posting is another good way to reach me, and perhaps more successful than via one of my many e-mail addresses, which get hundreds of e-mails a day.

      Andy Peel can be reached by: gospelnews@biblelight.org

      Please also do remember that you are welcome to share information about the Dandenong Ranges ecclesia in Australia via christadelphians_be@hotmail.com so that I can inform the public also about what happens there. I strongly believe that we should show the world that we are an active community of brothers and sisters in Christ, proclaiming the Gospel and helping people where we can.

      I do hope you shall be able to get in touch with brother Andy.
      Success.

      God bless.
      With kind regards,
      Marcus

      Like

  2. Maybe Putins war made some very difficult descissions for the western world more easy. Now independant energy production has become a “must”….

    Like

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