Radical Mitigation for Climate Change- An Introduction

The Problem

Written by Neil McCabe

The biggest failure by this generation is not that we need to tackle climate change and that we don’t know how; it’s that we have failed to recognise for too long that climate change is real and is happening now. Every day that we delay, makes it harder to play catch up. It’s a missed opportunity to create business, and change lives. Decision makers and policy makers talk about what they “wish to do / intend to do/ have a vision for” but no actions occur. If this continues, it will soon be too late.  

Only 50 years ago people had meters for their energy in their homes. They understood their demand and appreciated the cost and effect that energy had on their lives. I remember putting coins in the meter in my Nana’s house or there was simply no gas. Now for most of us everything is “Supply Easy.” We have become accustomed to this, but along the way – we have forgotten our way. The reason is that we are on a journey of greater demand and greater want, as an everyday thing. Perhaps one of the most unjust realities of climate change is that its effects are not equally distributed. The developing and third world countries have the most to lose the quickest.

Capitalism and economy are drivers for growth but growth seems to be the only factor to measure how steady economies are. The problem here is that we can’t actually eat money! Denialism is a proven loser and burying our heads in the sand won’t make climate change go away. It’s widely thought that there is a magic wand that “someone” is going to wave to fix Earth’s temperature. “They” will solve the problem. It’s a political climate with no leadership.

We all need food but the land for growing food is running out due to deforestation and poor soil from over farming including the need for more and more fertiliser, nitrogen and phosphorus. This is all contributing to more and more greenhouse gases, trapping the sun’s energy, resulting in higher average temperatures. An increase in higher “Average” temperature multiplies and adds to the frequency and intensity of severe droughts, heat events, large storms and intense rainfall, and putting great stress on societies around the world. Disease and epidemics such as malaria follow and inevitably this is leading to war. This cost is financially carried by the taxpayer, that’s €31 Billion per year in Europe alone.

Ireland will be home to an extra 2 million people by 2030. There is to be an estimated 9 Billion world population by 2050. This ferocious expansion is travelling without resilience and without planning for limited resources and a 2 degree average surface warming. We will need a further Seven Planets the size of Earth to keep growing the way we are today. Perhaps the most sobering of thoughts; Earth -The Total System- will survive, we won’t!