There are still hoops to be jumped through, boxes to be ticked and performance targets to met but Sector39 have won the opportunity to lead on a community transition and resilience project based in Llanfyllin over the next three years.
The premise of the project is simple:
Climate change science is decided, it is time for action.
We are already at a state of emergency!
This is a disaster for young people, we can no longer pretend that we don’t know. We need a fundamental change of direction.
James Hansen, NASA, 350.org
The Paris climate accord signals that the race to the low carbon economy is fully on. This needs to be led by the rising generation who can see beyond the current economic paradigm, leading us all to a clean energy economy as fast as possible, this is now essential.
Here is James Hansen of NASA explaining what we have to do.
This project wants to listen to the voices of the science commnuity and work through school and commnunity to create new options for food, employment, education, economy and more. To visualise and plan for a truly sustainable future that meets our local needs as well as our global responsibilities.
The project itself is a plan to use the permaculture design model to re-imagine a school and community fit for 2040, 2050, a time when we will all be required to be living a net carbon neutral lifestyle.
What will our low carbon economy look and feel like?
How will we communicate the ideas, challenges and rewards of this amazing transformation?
How will we shape our common sustainable future?
How can we turn this challenge into our greatest opportunity?
We want our commnuity to be LEADERS in responsing to this challenge and to put both Llanfyllin and Wales on the world map as pioneers!
The World is hungry for inspiration,
Monica Araya, Costa Rica
Help us reinvent the future!
A small country with big ideas
Here is Monica Araya from Costa Rica asking “How do we build a society without fossil fuels?”
Using her native Costa Rica as an example of positive action on environmental protection and renewables, climate advocate Monica Araya outlines a bold vision for a world committed to clean energy in all sectors.
Here is an interesting piece on how the TV weather readers are reacting to increasingly frequest weather events.
I am not sure exactly when empirical data required belief but if you still don’t have the mental capacity to understand the science of climate change then just try looking out the window. 2015 is the hottest year on record, breaking the previous record of 2014 by a significant amount. As we enjoy our warmest and wettest winter it is important to remind ourselves that these increasingly unstable and energised weather patterns are exactly what has been predicted by the climate science. So, yes this is climate change and it is happening right before our very eyes. Intense rainfall and other irregular weather patterns are going to form a big part of the new normal, welcome to climate changed.
This is of course only the beginning, the time lag between this year’s emissions of greenhouse gasses and their future impact on weather takes from years to decades, so no matter how rapid and urgent the collective global response is, we are set for a bumpy ride in the short to medium term regardless.
Still got a pet theory about how the climate crisis is all made up by anti capitalist crack pots or caused by sunspots or some other natural cycle beyond human interference? …then I am sorry to say your theory has already been debunked. The science is unequivocal and if any of those contrarian ideas did hold water then the oil industry and their funders would be trumpeting them from on high and publishing the data in every tabloid. Fact is, the debate is over and the focus now is on bringing about meaningful responses as rapidly as possible.
To get a clear picture of what we need to know and what needs to happen there is no higher authority than the now retired NASA scientist and the man who first sounded the alarm bells on climate, James Hansen. He makes it perfectly clear that at anything above 350 ppm CO2 the planet receives a net gain of solar energy each year, solar energy is arriving faster than it can escape. The only solution he emphatically argues is to bring atmospheric levels back to that level or lower. From a pre industrial level of 275 ppm we are currently riding high at 400 ppm and the Paris summit on climate at the end of last year has negotiated a planned target of 450ppm, this Hansen asserts is and will be a disaster.
A level beyond 350 ppm is not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.
The paper this quote is taken from is possibly the most important scientific paper of the millennium and one which we must pay attention to. James Hansen NASA
Can we get back to 350ppm? is it even possible? Well the politicians and the oil industry would definitely say not. It is not politicly or economically expedient, they have made us an offer, this is the best we can do they say… problem is, nature does not negotiate.
At Paris the World agreed that we have serious problem and that we have to get off fossil fuels, but the pace of change and political will is too slow and too weak to be of any use; we have merely agreed to carry on changing the atmosphere a little more slowly than before.
Hansen is clear on what we must do and no political or economic argument can the change the physics, we have to cut emissions to zero as soon as possible. The planetary system, the biology of the biosphere is already out of balance, CO2 levels have not been this high for a lt least 1 million years, maybe much longer. Life itself is of course carbon based, on land or sea, soils and ocean accumulate carbon from the atmosphere sucking it down into soils and sediments on the sea beds. So once we reach a carbon neutral global economy then the biosphere will start to reduce overall levels naturally. We can speed this up even with enhanced soil management techniques, reafforestation as well with carbon negative technologies like biochar but no response other than reducing emissions to zero, asap will tip the long term odds in our favour.
A revenue neutral, carbon fee escalating from $10 – $100 a tonne over the next ten years is the Doctor’s prescription
The answer? Well it lies in the market system, the very thing that in many ways got us here in the first place. As long as dumping tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere is free then the remaining coal, gas and oil will get used eventually. Quickly or slowly it matters little, the effect will be the same, it has to stay in the ground. Coal is cheap, a very abundant and ready source of energy so unless something changes it will get used and we will continue to build more coal fired power stations. The economic driver that will turn the investment tide in the right direction is a revenue neutral carbon fee. Polluters need to bare the cost of their pollution in order to receive the correct market signals.
It is not a tax, it is a fee and here is how it works: if say US, EU and China could agree then any carbon extracted from the ground for energy is taxed at the well head or mine and that money redistributed directly to the population of the source country, like a tax credit. This would create both a stick and a carrot, punishing carbon emitters economically and rewarding those who invest in low carbon alternatives. How much per tonne is the next question, here is the rub of the policy that makes it so powerful: it can start small, say $10 a tonne and climbs by $10 year on year until it reaches $100, this would send the clearest signal to the market to switch investment away from the sources of energy that are driving these problems, whilst providing time and resources to enable economies to adapt. The biggest question remaining then is what of those countries like Australia and Canada who are sat on huge carbon reserves and might chose not to play ball? In such cases the carbon tax is imposed on any goods or materials crossing borders into the carbon zone, then that levy is still raised but this time it doesn’t return to the source country but becomes income for the importer, doubling the incentive of the carbon exporting nations to join the scheme. It is an elegant, workable and powerful response that complies with prevalent free market orthodoxy and it needs to begin as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, with such an inevitability on the horizon any investor still backing the carbon age is rapidly going to find themselves caught out on the wrong side of history. Even today a vast amount of pension funds, savings and insurance money is flowing towards continued oil and gas investment, it has after all always been such a safe bet. A carbon fee could and will rapidly change all that and those stocks and holdings in the polluting economy would rapidly become unsaleable.
Check your savings, look at where you money is invested and think very carefully about switching it to an industry with a bright future and that has to be clean tech, clean energy and social investments that will propel us towards a new kind of society and economy. Be under no illusions this is the defining issue of our era, an existential threat that puts any terror threat you care to imagine into sharp perspective, imagine tens of millions of climate refugees in coming decades, or farming collapse, coastal ports and power plants engulfed, this is the future we face with out a carbon fee, so I say bring it on! I am ready, are you?
Hear James Hansen speak for himself, interviewed at the Paris Summit by The Elephant
He tells us we are already at a level of emergency. This is essential listening.
Time to storm the Citadel?
Should we common folk be taking up our pitchforks and lanterns and preparing to storm the gates of power? Our leaders are either insane or dead at the controls as we career into climate catastrophe, leaders whose seemingly only response is preparing for endless war over the remaining resources. The need for a populist, grass roots movement that galvanises ecological and social concerns into a coherent response to the collapse of globalisation and neo-liberalism has surely never been stronger than it is now. I will be keeping my pitchfork handy and starting to raise a posse because if we don’t see real and meaningful action very soon then it is going to be too late, the people must insist!
Technicians of spaceship earth, this is your captain speaking, your captain is dead Michael Moorcock (Hawkwind album cover note)
“Flags are flying dollar bills” …is it time to storm the citadel yet? As our world teeters on the edge of insanity – you could be forgiven for thinking our leaders are more than asleep at the wheel but dead at the controls.