A new climate agency
To Help Avoid Irreversible Runaway Heating
To Cut Fossil Fuel Use and CO₂ Emissions
To Stabilize the Fossil Fuel Industry & Make It Accountable
We are close to 1.3°C global warming now, measured from the 19th century’s industrial revolution. Many climate experts put the start of irreversible runaway warming at around 1.5°C. Runaway heating will ensure the rapid disappearance of human societies as we know them.
Last year’s report by the World Metrological Office (WMO) together with the UK Met office has confirmed that 1.5°C warming could be reached as early as 2024 / 2025 if nothing changes, based on the trajectory through to the beginning of May this year.
The Litus Foundation has prepared a wide-ranging overview of the actual climate situation today, including evaluating what mitigation technologies might be able or not able to do. Crunching the numbers, the sum of the current and proposed technology mitigation projects, minus the major damages currently taking place (set fires, wildfires, de-forestation, excessive gas flaring), indicates that these projects will have a negligible overall net effect within the above time frame. The evidence points to a complete climate emergency, requiring immediate new strategies and actions.
THE NEW AGENCY
Litus is proposing that a new international agency or division of an existing agency is established immediately, with the sole objective of avoiding irreversible runaway heating.
There seems no alternative; nothing is happening to slow heating; energy demand is increasing. Extreme speed is needed. The climate emergency is on the same scale as the WWII crises; that is how we should view it. Then, projects were undertaken and completed in incredibly short time frames.
Attending Madrid’s COP 25 in December 2019, the impression was that most climate professionals thought that irreversible runaway warming was likely only a few years from now. They seemed concerned and even depressed that the COP process was not making meaningful progress.
In Glasgow this year, it appeared that the largely identical participants of the last five COPs were talking of many of the same under-evaluated and impractical technologies, making seemingly unrealizable commitments.
People are going to continue using fossil fuels for a long while. Today they account for around 85% of all energy use. (Wind and solar are at about 3%; the balance mostly hydro and nuclear). They are used for virtually all transport, space heating, industrial processes, and most electricity generation. For renewables to replace all this will require an unimaginable level of investment and, above all, time.
To give time for the various mitigation technologies to mature and properly come on stream, a new Agency could:
1. Cut fossil fuel use by imposing additional taxes, all to be ploughed back into climate mitigation and societal projects, and multiple other actions. In contrast to the volunteer COP process – still achieving modest results slowly – a rapid cutback in demand could only be achieved by new rules and their enforcement.
2. Help stabilise the fossil fuel industry away from its whip-saw instabilities, so it can provide continuous supply at predictable prices and, above all, providing mechanisms to leave unneeded resources in the ground. The industry after all is just supplying what we have asked to use. SUV sales are still increasing. Without the industry’s active cooperation, CO₂ emissions cannot be significantly reduced.
Because the current global agencies are very restricted by their memberships and rules, the new agency should be much more informal, perhaps made up and run by a mixture of countries, corporations and rich individuals.
Our ‘Action Now: A New Climate Agency?’ outlines known and new alternative strategies, as to how it might be established and the many specific actions it might undertake.