How Can We Stop Global Warming?

 

Strange Facts and Questions about Global Warming ACADEMIA and the CLIMATE EMERGENCY ITS THE LIFESTYLE, NOT THE SCIENCE Sceptics and Deniers Contact the Author, Michael Tuckson References and Acknowledgements Short CV For Beginners and the Bewildered COPENHAGEN and  AFTER BLOG WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW My Sitemap
 

 

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Taking Responsibility  

www.stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net 

Dr. Michael Tuckson

Individual Human Lifetimes

Those who have been the greatest indirect and direct lifetime polluters in whatever country have the greatest responsibility. A fair assessment of our responsibility should be our contribution to pollution over our individual human lifetimes, not the total national history of emissions as some are saying, and not the contemporary rates as others seem to believe.

We might also note that the richer sectors of the more advanced developing nations have been using energy at a similar rate to that of the developed nations for some time and are tending to use their relatively neglected poor populations unfairly as a negotiating point. For example the per capita carbon emission rate for London is about 6 tonnes per annum, whereas that for Bangkok is about 7 tonnes per annum. Neither national emission rates nor per capita emission rates are viable negotiating positions. The richer sectors of developing nations that are mainly in cities, could well be assessed similarly to developed nations, while the poorer sectors are offered assistance by all.

The rich in the developed and developing nations should be helping the poor sectors and regions on all continents by firstly massively and rapidly reducing their emissions and also assisting with forest, soil and water conservation and access to low-carbon energy. Although trans-national corporation (TNC) investment in developing nations was accepted by the host governments under their conditions, the practical reality is that for the poorest nations at least the TNCs must fund and skill the changes required. 

But we should not judge each nation’s plan only on its total emission rate and its rate of change but on its capacity to change. This is based firstly on its technical capacity, infrastructure and natural resources, but then on its cultural orientation and social power structure. On nearly all of these bases the Nordic nations have a greater capacity to change than say India and the USA, both of whom need assistance.

It is tempting for concerned people to want to help the vulnerable when or before disaste r strikes. I believe that the best way that this can be done now is not to offer help at vulnerable sites but for the concerned to learn about surface earth system inertia, feedback, tipping points and irreversibility and try to offer learning support to the influential and powerful moving up hierarchies....... Hierarchical Strategies  so as to strengthen national policies on emission reduction. In this way they are helping everyone, not just the very poorest and probably in a far more useful way in the long-term. All nations must help to the extent of their capability. If governments under corporation and union pressure fail, then we the people can still have an influence if we do it collectively and globally through the world wide web, as described in ..... People's Web Strategy  Whether led by government or people most of the change over the next few years must be behavioural.

The response to global warming must be global, involving all significant carbon emitters, as the cause is not confined to particular nations but rather due mainly to the better off in each nation. The proportion with a car and an electrified house varies from nation to nation but there is not one without. The relatively poor, whether they are Chinese peasants or the Indigenous people of the Americas, cannot be blamed for this crisis and indeed are likely to be among the first to suffer seriously. But because internationally it is difficult to change individual behaviour, the most technologically developed nations or strictly the biggest polluters per capita, must bear the main costs, followed by those less developed.

Geography and History 

Each nation’s emissions are related more to its geography and history than the posture of its rulers, while the opportunities for reduction are related mostly to its economics and either cultural values or its hierarchical nature. We, including myself, are too inclined to laud or blame the party or politicians of the day for success or failure. It is difficult for politicians to radically reduce a whole nation’s high emissions and/or high emission growth rates, but these are emergency times so we must ask them to try and we must help them with ideas and actions.

We should distinguish between the old ‘developed’ nations in Europe and Japan, and the more developed, relatively new ones that are the outcome of colonialism and European, especially British, migration, such as the USA, Australia and Canada. The latter, occupying originally less populated lands, even now have lower population densities, are rich in resources, and are forever sprawling. These ex-colonials are the major per capita and major human lifetime polluters among the developed nations, not simply because they are spurning environmentalism, but because their geography and history made it easy to use energy and makes it that much harder to reduce energy use. Even the obstructionism in the USA can partly be explained by the early Christian migration, southern slavery, and the Wild West as well as the fossil resource wealth. Schwarzenegger’s leadership in California is likewise a characteristic of the state as much as the person. Still, the USA is so large and diverse that good leaders will always appear and hopefully the people will follow.

Lifetime, Contemporary and Per Capita Emissions 

Using individual human lifetime emissions means that people of the same age in New York and Bangkok driving the same car the same distance and using carbon to the same degree otherwise have the same responsibility. Energy analysts could estimate national totals based on the history of population and energy sales, or if energy statistics are not available, on GDP as a proxy for energy use, being careful with Nordic statistics.     

 

  

Nation 

Total Emissions
(Million tonnes of CO2) 

Per Capita Emissions
(Tonnes/capita) 

1. 

China   

6017.69 

4.58 

2.   

United States  

5902.75 

19.78 

3. 

Russia   

1704.36 

12.00 

4. 

India   

1293.17 

1.16 

5. 

Japan   

1246.76 

9.78 

6. 

Germany   

857.60 

10.40 

7. 

Canada   

614.33 

18.81 

8. 

United Kingdom  

585.71 

9.66 

9. 

South Korea  

514.53 

10.53 

10. 

Iran   

471.48 

7.25 

11. 

Italy   

468.19 

8.05 

12. 

South Africa  

443.58 

10.04 

13. 

Mexico   

435.60 

4.05 

14. 

Saudi Arabia  

424.08 

15.70 

15. 

France   

417.75 

6.60 

16. 

Australia   

417.06 

20.58 

17. 

Brazil   

377.24 

2.01 

18. 

Spain   

372.61 

9.22 

19. 

Ukraine   

328.72 

7.05 

20. 

Poland   

303.42 

7.87 

Source: EIA, USA

While developed nations point to the contemporary emission rate in developing countries such as India and Brazil the developing countries themselves emphasize their lower per capita emission rates. Neither of these views is fair, likely to be accepted by the other side, or a viable negotiating position. The developing countries tend to be divided into two different populations, the richer ‘sector’ that lives close to a ‘developed’ lifestyle and the poorer side that uses very little energy. Up until global warming hit the world stage, the concern that the richer half in developing nations expressed for the poor was only a little greater than that which the developed nations expressed, and tends to be family, clan or ethnic group focussed. To some extent the poor population has become a convenient contribution to negotiations by creating a low per-capita emission figure. While the rich politicians tend to emphasize the needs of the poor for development, what the poor need first, with the exception of those who are really struggling to obtain basic needs, is other’s emission reduction. The reality is that the ‘developing’ rich ‘sectors’ are in many cases similar to the developed countries. Both these rich sectors and developed nations could share the responsibility first for stopping climate change in the poor regions, and only then for their development. In developing countries the statistics should be presented for at least two ‘sectors’ so that the rich sector can take similar reduction action to developed nations.    

 Foreign Investment 

Since European expansion and colonialism began 500 years ago, the world has become and continues to become asymmetrically globalized. The technologically advanced nations, and regions within nations, depend on the natural resources and labour of the less advanced ones. We must thus see that solutions to our present problems must be global, not only because the Earth is global, but that humans have become global.  All governments and major corporations must share responsibility wherever they are working, depending on their social and technical capacity. Foreign corporations using cheap fossil fuel electricity could well contribute to conversion to renewables.

The new issue of trans-national corporations (TNCs) responsibility for their own factories’ pollution, as raised by China’s government, is a troubling one. China did not mention it, but it is fair to ask whether developed nations as a whole might take some responsibility or whether it is specifically the investors that should step up? Who should take responsibility for the pollution created by a US owned factory using coal fired electricity in China? Is it the responsibility of the US government, the Chinese government, the US corporation, or somebody else? Firstly, the fact that TNCs make products for export does not reduce the host national governments’ responsibility. Various classes and factions receive employment, skills, fees, taxes and bribes from the TNCs so must take considerable responsibility for the emissions. National governments accepted the investment in the first place.  

Nevertheless, we must ask whether the responsibility is mainly or all ‘domestic’ or ‘national’ to use economists’ terms, as in GDP and GNP. In other words is the developed governments' responsibility for emissions only within their borders, or also for that created by organizations owned by nationals of the same nation wherever the pollution is created?  This is a question that must also be answered for relations between developing nations. For example, Malaysian nationals have investments in Thailand, and Thais in turn in Laos. Given that most airline emissions, and their other effects on global temperature, are multi-national, oceanic, or within the owner’s nation, ownership must prevail, but foreign owned factories, offices and trucking etc have two clear benefiting groups. Previously all foreign investor pollution had been seen largely as a domestic issue, that is the responsibility of the host nation, partly because developed nations' media avoided it. However, the case for national ownership responsibility is greater where the effects are just local. Now the effects are global and devastating, the owner perhaps has a different moral responsibility, but more self-preservation reason to act.  

Still, whatever the morality, the practical reality is that in most cases the host nation does not have adequate local skills or funds to rapidly reduce its own national emissions let alone those of foreign investors. We must also note that nation to nation assistance is funded by taxes, rarely an appropriate use of funds to assist foreign investors who are usually making adequate if not substantial profits. It appears that foreign owners, being the main foreign beneficiaries of the investments, must carry out most of the upgrading and replacement, especially in the poorest nations. As it is, the developed nations will have to offer nation to nation assistance for much government and other locally owned conversion to renewables, so it would better be the responsibility of the foreign investors to fund their own upgrading by contributing to the cost of conversion from fossil fuels to renewables.  If the 'Clean Development Mechanism' continues they may be able to use that.  

Trees and forests are covered in their own webpage.....Trees and Forests

Return to .........Social Conditions and Strategies

Return to general account of the emergency......New Strategies to Stop Global Warming

   Copyright © 2009 Michael Tuckson.  All Rights Reserved 

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Semi-Random Slogans

Invite a denier to lunch

Eat less meat every day

Form a small climate group

Inertia will kill us, twice

Holiday on bicycles

Learn how to plant and nurture trees

Drain your rice fields sometimes 

Auction caps 

Grow and store carbon 

Write to a newspaper in a denier region 

Help the employees, not the fossil fuel owners

Read a book, not a newspaper, on the bus

350 not 450

Study tropical forest protection

Why are most deniers men?

Carbon tax before cap and trade

Look for a home closer to work

Write a new page for this website

Oppose lobbying

Put a new slogan on your bicycle or bag every day 

Study the latest climate science first

No air-conditioning before lunchtime

Drink just a little cow milk

Study Earth's thermal inertia

Learn how to teach

Send parts of this website to a politician

Grow and store carbon in houses 

Organize exchanges with Asian universities 

Grow crops not livestock

Rationing is equitable

Study thermal inertia in buildings

Practice dialogue, not argument

Behaviour before technology

Make a bicycle path plan

Don't use concrete

Drive a much smaller car

Study the denier claims

1.5 not 2.0

Don't use trees for offsets

Work with a bilingual person 

Eat even less meat every day

Support better democracy

Do deniers care for their grandchildren? 

Paint your roof white

Oppose advertising by polluting companies

Consume less, save money

Form an international group 

Help a politician to learn

Making cement emits CO2.

Education must be global 

Grow and store carbon in the soil

Fans, not air-conditioning

Lobbying is bribery

Study growing algae

Improve the school curricula

You can't read driving a car

Find dated photos of glaciers

Study which companies bribe political parties 

How do you entice a denier to want to learn?

Share your job with an oil driller

Plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere

Have you tried Tahini dip?

What do deniers understand?

Dress less formally in the heat

Design a more tempting commuter bus

Get to know a denier's children

Pay tax to fund retraining

Less clothing, not fans

Eat kangaroo meat 

E-commute

Improve the university curricula

One is enough

Interview a climate scientist on video

Insulate your home

Open a wind turbine factory in a coal town

Study Earth feedback processes

300 not 350

Wheat is safer than rice

Take men's fashions up, and women's down

Use a condom in emergencies

Share some job-time

Protest forest destruction

Wear a cotton coat

Study tree plantations

Eat just a little cheese

Get to know a denier's grandchildren

Why do the rich want to grow?

Put on an extra jumper when its cold outside

Offer a new job to a coal miner

Adopt two

Join an NGO today

Political bribes, not donations

None is enough

Holiday close to home

Invest in a diverse plantation

Wear less in the heat

Talk to migrants about emailing home

Make compost

Promote eco-tourism for locals

Read more of this website

Ask a politician have they read James Hansen

Eat less cream

Jumpers are cheaper than gas

Arrange a climate debate

Build a thick-walled house

Study how to turn moderate deniers

Study fast growing trees

Hand out appropriate leaflets at railway stations

Study your local energy organization

Learn about the delights of veganism

Study Chinese

Practice walking

Shirts are enough in hot weather

Support rapid research on how to turn deniers

Try an IUD

Asians make blankets from cotton and kapok

Get to know your neighbours

Recycle jumpers and coats

Holiday by mass land transport

Drink red wine, not milk

Support rapid research on capturing CO2 from the air.

Hand out leaflets at bus stops

Men's legs are beautiful too

Talk to local government about recycling biological waste

Keep a stock of morning after pills

 

Adopt another one

When will the USA go metric?

Write and publish leaflets

Holiday on a sailing ship

Start a course on climate change and solutions

Exercise periodically when its cold

Farmers now support the Green party

Give a talk at the local school

Chocolate's great with soya cream

Climate crisis not climate change

Share a car with your neighbours

Study tipping points and irreversibility

Email government ministers

Form a climate group with your neighbours or friends

Read Climate Cover-Up

Study palaeo-climatology

Soon meat becomes less tempting

Improve your foreign language skills

Adopt a baby girl 

Write an article for your local newspaper

Read Storms of My Grandchildren (after reading some climate science such as on this website)

Take plastic packaging off at the shop

Climate emergency not climate crisis

Ask you government to make a good video on the climate emergency

Move your company to where your workers live

Invite your favourite denier to a vegan lunch

Ask the supermarket to turn off half the lights

Study carbon taxes in more than one nation

Join yours with other climate groups

Shop at dimly lit shops

Email people you know abroad

Ask a climatologist to explain the various! meanings of CO2e

Plant and nurture trees in your garden till its full

Learn about biochar

Study the bus routes in your town or city

Support James Hansen for the Nobel Prize for physics, peace or whatever.

Protest new oil exploration

Install a solar thermal hot water heater

Shop for food where the fridges have lids or doors

Plant 10 trees a month in neighbours' gardens and in parks

Ask your adult children what they think

Write a better letter to the newspapers

Organize a demonstration outside coal company offices.

Where are the Nobel prizes for Earth and social sciences?

Form a climate group at work

Give a talk at a school in a coal town

No children is best

Buy a glass of wine for a denier

Start an NGO

Support honest and intelligent politicians

Study short-term GHGs

Join a good political party

Give a talk at a school at an oil town

Study hire-purchase for solar panels

Stake out a coal energy factory

Don't export coal or oil

Work in a vulnerable area

Invest in geothermal

Live with a farmer family in the holidays and help them plant trees

Build a sailing ship

Give talks at the local town.

Hand out leaflets at another station

Video a debate

Move to a swinging seat in time for close elections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 
 

 Michael Tuckson

The website author and publisher, December 2009.

 

Easy Summary

 

We must try to understand up-to-date climate science coming out over the last few years that warns of possible disaster. Ice shelves and sheets are melting much faster than before. Global temperatures are rising, with oscillations due to ocean oscillations. Natural causes are minor compared with pollution. This understanding must be spread by advanced adult education, especially among the powerful. As many readers as possible must spread understanding.

 

Denier leaders are funded by the fossil fuel, tobacco and similar corporations and/or are ideologues. Their arguments are always against, not considering pro and con, as with real science. They rarely call for better understanding, just attempt to confuse. None are climate scientists. Their motivation is salary and weak government, not salary and discovery. Either they do not care about their descendants or they do not understand the probable future.

 

We must put more emphasis on the short-term greenhouse influences such as methane. Carbon dixide must be captured from the atmosphere. Also we must lead with behaviour change before appropriate technology spreads. Birth control is important in some regions. Job-time sharing and retraining can reduce any unemployment resulting from mitigation measures. Mitigation must be coordinated globally by government and citizens in modern sectors. City pairing could be useful.