The Sanctuary Voices Of Reason Series
Bill McKibben: What Governments Must Do to Combat Climate Change
1) Above all, governments need to start leaving carbon in the ground. The science is clear – we already have five times as much coal, oil and gas in our reserves as even the most conservative government or scientist thinks is safe to burn. Therefore, it’s nonsensical to look for more; we’ve got to leave most of those reserves safely in the soil.
Photograph Courtesy 350.org.
2) Quickly changing, in the rich world, the ways we use energy. The overdeveloped world uses far more energy than it needs to, and it generates it in dangerous ways. We need to go on a war-time footing to push energy efficiency, and the rapid conversion to renewables. Germany, which on some days generates half its power from solar panels inside its borders, shows that this is possible; all that is lacking is political will.
3) In the poor world, we desperately need people and nations to pioneer a new path toward distributed renewable energy and away from centralised fossil energy. India can still make the choice, for instance, whether it wants village-scale solar, or big, dirty, centralised coal-fired power. The future of the world will hinge, in part, on the solution it chooses.
Bill McKibben is an environmentalist, educator, journalist and Founder of 350.org.
Author: Bill McKibben, First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXIII, No. 1, February 2013.