Across Europe, children, high school students, and university students are taking to the streets to demand more ambitious action on climate change. Young people in Sweden and Belgium are joined by young people in Germany, the UK, France, and others who recognize they will have to bear the consequences of today’s (lack of) political actions, actions on which they only have limited direct influence. This week’s pick takes a closer look at the issue these youngsters have put at the centre of the debate.
“Intergenerational justice might have not received the recognition it deserves in the climate discourse so far, but the kids protesting in the streets today are telling us loudly and clearly that this needs to change.”
Early action on climate change is crucial. It brings a range of benefits on health, food security, employment creation, and more. It also facilitates the transformation of the global economy, as using less of the world’s remaining carbon budget now, means that action can be taken at a more manageable pace. That is why Mission 2020 calls on world leaders to make the year 2020 the turning point on climate change. In a recent report, the World Resources Institute tracks the global progress towards 6 milestones set out by Mission 2020 on energy, transport, land use, industry, infrastructure, and finance. Noting the numerous opportunities to scale up and accelerate action that remain untapped, the institute’s researchers conclude by stating:
“Now is the time to invest in necessary shifts, such as phasing out coal; moving swiftly toward renewable energy; electrifying transport, buildings and industry; and managing land sustainably.”
Putting a price on carbon has been cited by many as one of the most effective ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. But political will for carbon pricing (or taxing) is lacking, often out of fear for a popular backlash. However, popular opposition against such measures might be less about opposing climate action than about opposing their distributive effects. A recent Nature article shows how public support can be won for carbon prices and taxes if they are designed more fairly, for example, by letting people share in the revenues through climate dividends. When done right, putting a price on carbon can actually benefit the poor, rather than harm them. In that way, it can be a key tool for realizing a just transition.
Carbon+Alt+Delete co-founder Kenneth Van den Bergh was invited to write a contribution (in Dutch) for bouw–energie, a knowledge-sharing platform for the construction and energy sectors. In it, he discusses the importance of our built environment for meeting our climate goals, the different drivers of the emissions of our building stock, as well as what you can do to reduce the emissions of your home.
Thanks to the European Union Emission Trading Scheme, a lot of data on carbon emissions in Europe is readily available. This tool allows you to learn everything about carbon emissions in Europe, from national emissions to emissions of firms in your neighbourhood.
Carbon+Alt+Delete’s carbon calculator is a good way to get a high-level idea of your carbon emissions. If you want to know more about the carbon emissions of your diet, we highly recommend this great tool of the BBC. They show that how and where your food is produced, is as important as what you eat.
Climate change impacts everything, including the roads we drive on. While Northern Europe might “win” (less winter maintenance), Southern Europe (more heat damage) and Central Europe (more landslides) will “lose”.
The 197 countries that signed the Paris Agreement gathered the last 2 weeks at the 24th UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice (Poland). The good news: progress has been made on the technical implementation of the Paris Agreement (e.g. how do we measure and report greenhouse gas emissions?). The bad news: no concrete (political) promises were made to reduce emissions in order to achieve the 1.5°C target (current targets will lead to 3°C increase).
According to The Boston Consulting Group, a management consultant, countries can create economic growth by taking more action against climate change, if they prioritize the most economic efficient measures to do so.