Sustainability Bites

There is no such thing as a free lunch

adaptation

This is not ‘higher than average’, this is the new normal

This is not ‘higher than average’, this is the new normal

NOAA has declared a Global Mass Bleaching Event and Australia’s Prime Minister races to the Great Barrier Reef to make an announcement! At last, the world is responding to the existential threat of climate change. But wait, what’s this; the PM is actually in Gladstone (at the southern end of the GBR) to celebrate the shipping of fossil fuel to Asia! Is this some sick parody? No, it’s real life. Welcome to the new normal – just like the old normal but with none of the certainty we once all enjoyed.

Transition versus transformation; change is needed but how fast?

Transition versus transformation; change is needed but how fast?

Given the risks of catastrophic climate change, a possible anthropogenic mass extinction event, and seriously bad and irreversible climate tipping points, a precautionary approach to managing the future must rapidly decouple, in absolute terms, economic growth from environmental impacts. This requires much more than ‘steady-as-she-goes’ transitions. Despite this, ‘transitionists’ hold the floor. Quentin Grafton discusses the folly of accepting the ‘transition’ line of reasoning.

The real 5G coming to you! (The Great Acceleration, Great Extinction, Great Injustice, Great Dissatisfaction, & hopefully, the Great Transformation)

The real 5G coming to you! (The Great Acceleration, Great Extinction, Great Injustice, Great Dissatisfaction, & hopefully, the Great Transformation)

Despite the overwhelming benefits to humanity from the post war period of rapid economic growth (the Great Acceleration), there has also been a massive downside: ocean acidification, unsustainable water use, deforestation, degradation of wetlands, catastrophic declines in biodiversity, and global warming. Arising from this downside we’ve also experienced the Great Extinction, the Great Injustice and the Great Dissatisfaction. If humanity is to survive, now we need another ‘G’, the Great Transformation.

The future present: BAU & Climate Change

The future present: BAU & Climate Change

What do we know, more or less, for sure about the future? First, the world is getting hotter at a faster rate. Second, maintaining or increasing greenhouse emissions will result in substantial temperature increases within coming decades that entails substantial costs and risks. Third, carbon sequestration, over the coming few decades will only make, at best, a very marginal contribution to lowering atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Fourth, despite the rhetoric, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise to at least 2030. These are our future certainties under business-as-usual. Much of the uncertainty about what the future holds is about what we choose to do about it.

Joining the dots (Part II) – insurance, the law, and the cost of living as the climate boils

Joining the dots (Part II) – insurance, the law, and the cost of living as the climate boils

While it is apparent that society can turn a blind eye to bleaching coral reefs, burning forest biomes and flooding cities, it seems everyone is angry about the rising cost of living and unaffordable insurance. And when voters get really angry, politicians start actually doing something. When it comes to climate disruption, that includes taking climate criminals (ie, the fossil fuel sector) to court. Could it be we are beginning to join the dots on climate boiling?