The handwaving and complexity obscure a simple truth: nation states must stop funding dirty industries
In some respects, preventing climate breakdown is highly complicated. But in another, it’s really simple: we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground. All the bluster and grandstanding, the extravagant promises and detailed mechanisms discussed in Glasgow this week amount to nothing if this simple and obvious thing doesn’t happen.
A recent study in the scientific journal Nature suggests that to stand a 50% chance of avoiding more than 1.5C of global heating, we need to retire 89% of proven coal reserves, 58% of oil reserves and 59% of fossil methane (“natural gas”) reserves. If we want better odds than 50-50, we’ll need to leave almost all of them untouched.
George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist
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