In an ode to the Outrage and Optimism podcast (which we have a love-hate relationship with here at CJ), we cover a lot of outrage this week. We’ve got the UK being a long way from meeting its net zero targets, greenwashing scandals and fossil fuel addictions. But we’re also adding a splash of optimism; with positive tipping points having huge potential for achieving climate goals decades earlier than major forecasts predicted.
1. SHOULD HAVE BEEN BIGGER NEWS: The latest figures show that the UK is not even half way towards meeting its 2030 emissions goal and way off track from getting to net zero by 2050. The courts have already ordered the government to produce a revised net zero strategy, so we await a bold new plan from our new Prime Minister. However, given he’s announced he wouldn’t be attending the COP27 climate conference and demoted both the Minister for Climate and COP26 President from the Cabinet, it’s looking like the wrong kind of bold. He has confirmed he’ll keep the ban on fracking though, so every cloud and all that.
2. HARD TO HAVE MISSED: Banks normally hide the nasty stuff in the small print, but when it comes to their adverts HSBC has been reprimanded for leaving it out altogether. The UK’s advertising watchdog has banned a series of adverts from the bank for “misleading” consumers about their role in tackling climate change. The adverts promoted HSBC’s positive initiatives like tree planting, but miraculously failed to mention its continued financing of fossil fuels.
3. THIS SHIT IS REAL: A new report has found that “fossil fuel addiction” is damaging public health in a big way. To summarise some of the shocking facts; air pollution causes about 1.2 million deaths a year, extreme weather from climate change led to hunger in nearly 100 million people and increased heat related deaths by 68% in vulnerable populations. Antonio Guterres put it pretty bluntly: “the climate crisis is killing us”. All this comes as the United Nations warns that current emission reduction pledges would lead to global heating of 2.5C, which they say would lead to a catastrophic climate breakdown... in other words, countries need to do a whole lot more.
We know that was pretty heavy, so now for some optimism.
4. TANTALISING TECH: The world is crossing into a ‘mass-adoption moment’ for green technologies. Bloomberg Green has identified ‘tipping points’ for 10 clean-energy technologies, from electric motorcycles to heat pumps and rooftop solar panels. Once these tipping points are reached, it leads to rapid acceleration and widespread use of that technology, which leaves the previous technology somewhat obsolete. With a little luck, non-renewable energy sources will soon go the way of the Walkman. Read the article to find out what is needed to reach these tipping points.
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