An op-ed, short for “opposite the editorial page”, is a written prose piece, which expresses the opinion of an author usually not affiliated with the publication’s editorial board.
Editor’s note: this article was published on the Canadian Press oil and gas feed of which Pipeline Online pays a monthly subscription for the right to republish. It is presented verbatim, without any changes. Think of it what you will, and comment on social media if you like. Letters to the editor can be sent to email@example.com.
By H. Damon Matthews, Professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability, Concordia University and Eric Galbraith, Professor of Earth Science and Canada Research Chair in Human-Earth System Dynamics, McGill University
This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.
Authors: H. Damon Matthews, Professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability, Concordia University and Eric Galbraith, Professor of Earth Science and Canada Research Chair in Human-Earth System Dynamics, McGill University
As COP27 unfolds in Egypt, we are hearing about a large array of climate change solutions, ranging from building with carbon-absorbing bamboo and using less plastic to growing more kelp in the oceans to retain its carbon stores and enhance biodiversity.
All of these ideas are important and could lead to positive environmental outcomes if successfully implemented.
However, as climate scientists we believe that they also have the potential to be dangerous distractions, drawing attention away from the three things we absolutely need to do to end the climate crisis: Stop burning coal, stop burning oil and stop burning natural gas.
Ending fossil fuel use is essential to end the climate crisis, and there is no alternative.
A simple problem with a simple solution
Global warming is fundamentally a very simple problem.
Human use of fossil fuels — whether in the form of coal, oil or natural gas — releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, making the Earth’s greenhouse effect stronger and increasing the Earth’s temperature.
The temperature rise, which has reached 1.25 C and counting will continue unless we stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere. The only way to achieve this is to end the use of coal, oil and natural gas.
Other solutions including less deforestation, more conserved and restored natural areas and better agricultural practices could help to slow global warming. These would also have additional benefits such as strengthening biodiversity and increasing community resilience to climate impacts.
Capturing and storing carbon may also eventually play a minor role in limiting the worst effects of climate change, but after decades of research we still don’t have a cost-effective strategy to put hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 back into the ground once the fossil fuels have been burned.
If we don’t end the use of fossil fuels, all of the rest adds up to little more than branches piled on the tracks in front of a runaway train. They might slow the train temporarily, but until we get inside the engine and shut off the throttle, the train will keep accelerating.
It’s a big challenge, but not a complex one
The solution to the climate crisis is not complex. But it is big.
The amount of coal, oil and natural gas extracted from the Earth adds up to billions of tons per year. So, shifting from fossil fuels to improved energy systems will require efforts far beyond what has so far been allocated to solving the climate problem.
But “big” is not the same as “complex.” The term “complex” implies that we don’t really know what the solutions are or whether they will in fact work. Neither is true here: we know with absolute certainty that replacing fossil fuels with carbon-free energy systems would solve the climate problem. What’s more, it’s the only way to do so.
So far, we have failed to take the actions necessary to tackle this big, but simple, problem mainly because the problem has been made to appear complex.
Complexifying the nature of the climate problem has been a strategy of the fossil fuel industry for decades, and fossil fuel lobbyists continue to push their agenda at COP27.
For many years, the argument was that the climate system is complex and that maybe greenhouse gas emissions were not a problem. Today, this same guise of complexity is being used to propagate doubt on the efficacy of real solutions and to promote actions that will take us in the wrong direction. Even now, gas representatives at COP27 are suggesting that burning more natural gas is part of the solution.
It is time we looked through this facade of complexity and get to work on the solutions that we know will work.
Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty shows the way
We do know what needs to be done. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a promising step in the right direction. The treaty, which was launched at the New York Climate Action Week in 2020, called, at last, to stop the expansion of new fossil fuel development and manage a just transition away from coal, oil and gas to clean energy.
But we can’t stop there. We need to quickly move to shut down fossil fuel use altogether, by replacing existing infrastructure as quickly as possible with solar, wind and other non-fossil energy sources so that people can thrive in a safe climate future.
It’s time to look past the distractions and focus on the simple solution to the climate crisis. We need to stop burning coal, oil and natural gas. Our climate future depends on this.
H. Damon Matthews receives funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Eric Galbraith receives funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Disclosure information is available on the original site. Read the original article: https://theconversation.com/ending-the-climate-crisis-has-one-simple-solution-stop-using-fossil-fuels-194489
News from © The Canadian Press, 2022. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
- 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
- 0050 Pride Upkeep lawn0050 Pride Upkeep lawn
- 0048 Hutts Trucking Safety0048 Hutts Trucking Safety
- 0047 Estevan Oilfield Technical Society 20230047 Estevan Oilfield Technical Society 2023
- 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
- 0044 PTRC CCUS Aquistore0044 PTRC CCUS Aquistore
- 0043 ALX ten sizes0043 ALX ten sizes
- 0039 Summit ESP Saskatchewan lower third0039 Summit ESP Saskatchewan lower third
- 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
- 0040 Southeast College safety tickets0040 Southeast College safety tickets
- 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
- 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
- 0025 Kendalls
- 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
- 0022 Grimes winter hiring
- 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
- 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
- 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
- 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
- 0006 JK Junior
- 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02