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Climate Change: What is to be done?

Last year there were a lot of protests about the climate problem and there was also a lot of discourse about the dubious tactics of XR. The attempts to tackle the problem seem to be organized in terms of holding mass protests and getting a lot of people arrested.

Instead of the tactics which superficially succeed in getting a lot of people into the street but are otherwise materially failing I think things should be done the other way around. What needs to happen is that CO2 emissions need to fall to net zero increase on a short time scale. So work backwards from that goal and figure out what events need to happen to make it a reality.

What are the main sources of CO2 pollution? If you investigate that then it becomes clearer what needs to be done.

Energy production

The burning of fossil fuels. Cars need to transition to being electric and electricity generation needs to switch to methods which don't burn fossil fuels. There needs to be more travel by train and refurbishment of neglected rail infrastructure. As reluctant as I am to admit it, because it produces other kinds of pollution, it probably means building more nuclear power stations in the next 20 years. It also means deploying a lot more renewable energy generation - wind, solar, tidal, etc. What that might look like is maybe a free of adequately subsidized effort by states to get solar on every available rooftop. More tax on petroleum and less on electric vehicles or rail, but done in an intelligent way which doesn't suddenly paralyse the economy, as happened in France.

Livestock and deforestation

There needs to be re-forestation on a big scale. Tree planting campaigns. Less beef consumption and more pork. Encouraging vegetarianism or veganism where possible. Some people are going to hate this, but it's part of what's necessary.

Industry

The way that cement is manufactured needs to change, or other kinds of CO2-neutral construction materials need to be used. If research hasn't already been done on this then start doing it asap. Petroleum refineries need to be replaced by non-CO2 electricity generation. Heavy goods need to be moved by train again, as they were before motorways existed.

So instead of having large generic campaigns which go nowhere maybe instead have targeted campaigns on things like the above. For example, an international tree planting campaign or a campaign to solarize all roof space or a campaign to expand the rail system and make public transport practical for most people or a campaign to reduce commuting and increase remote working for office staff.

Tag: climate