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Now that the UK has declared Climate Emergency across the country, many of us are wondering what are the goals, next steps and solutions. What we know for sure is that this is a matter of “choice”. Also that Greta Thunberg with the crowd of children striking every Friday, and the Extinction Rebellion movement are here to stay. It didn’t take long for France to decide to rebuild Notre-Dame after burning last 15th April. Can we truly act as if our “house is on fire”, with the urgency and strategic thinking it requires? We won’t tell you more about the problem, we are here to discuss potential solutions.
“We are in a planetary climate emergency” Prof. James Hansen, former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
The UK becomes the first country in the world to declare a national “Climate Emergency” following protests and acts of civil disobedience from a grassroots environmental group Extinction Rebellion and the movement Greta Thunberg is leading between the children all over the world.
May 1st 2019 will pass to the history, as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to declare the climate emergency, which was unanimously approved by the UK Parliament.
Goals in the state of Climate Emergency
The goals of this non-binding motion presented in the House of Commons in UK’s Parliament call action to:
- Net zero emissions before 2050. This means a request to set short-term targets for the roll-out of renewable and low carbon energy and transport; to move swiftly to capture economic opportunities and green jobs in the low carbon economy while managing risks for workers and communities currently reliant on carbon-intensive sectors
- Implement a zero waste economy within the next 6 months.
In the motion, it’s recognised the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on UK food production, water availability, public health and through flooding and wildfire damage. It also notes that the UK is currently missing almost all of its biodiversity targets and an alarming trend in the loss of species.
“We have no time to waste. We’re living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now,” Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader
Climate Emergency, the first demand of Extinction Rebellion
It’s been a huge success for the climate movement Extinction Rebellion, after weeks of protesting in the busiest and most iconic locations in London. In fact, Having the UK’s parliament approving unanimously the motion to declare Climate Emergency was the first of their three demands.
“Tell the truth” was the claim for politicians to be honest about what scientists, the UN and countless other experts say is an existential threat to human survival appears.
“MPs have passed a motion making the UK parliament the first in the world to declare an “environment and climate emergency”.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) May 1, 2019
Speaking earlier in the week, after the motion was announced, Greta Thunberg said:
“It is a great first step because it sends a clear signal that we are in a crisis and that the ongoing climate and ecological crises must be our first priority. We cannot solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency.” Sounds obvious, but it’s not happening.
The second demand of Climate Emergency: Net Zero by 2025
The second demand made by Extinction Rebellion is that the UK must drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions, hitting net zero by 2025. This challenge would require a complete renewing of the way we are organised as a society. It will begin what is largely known as the Third Industrial Revolution, by Jeremy Rifkin, who long time ago advised this would happen. This revolution will change everything, from transport to domestic and industrial energy systems, food production to overall levels of consumption.
While many discuss this being an “impossible target”, Extinction Rebellion and its supporters say rather than being guided by what is assumed as “politically possible”, laws and policies must now be driven by what is scientifically necessary. Restoring the international law known as Ecocide would be the start of a feasible solution (involving criminalising companies that cause ecological damage).
Scottish Barrister Polly Higgins made her final speech, not long before dying, to Extinction Rebellion. She has been powerfully arguing for the international law Ecocide to be enforced at the International Criminal Court. Her research indicates that 91 companies are responsible for 78% of emissions worldwide. The punishment would force these companies to take swift action on climate change.
The Solutions we must implement now to address Climate Emergency
Stop subsiding fossil fuels and start investing in renewable energy.
Climate change is caused by a build-up of carbon in the atmosphere, and that is primarily a result of burning fossil fuels. Working towards the goal of switching from coal, oil, and gas today will be key to embrace renewables while we still have a chance.
If you are familiar with Jeremy Rifkin and his idea of creating a super-Internet of Things (IoT) in the context of the Third Industrial Revolution will become the next key element, hatching an automated Transportation and Logistics Internet. In the Internet of Things era, sensors will be embedded into every device and appliance, allowing them to communicate with each other and Internet users, providing up to the moment data on the managing, powering, and moving of economic activity in a smart digital era.
Of course, not all countries have the sun, the wind or the water, so here it becomes crucial to be able to share the green electricity. Here is where Internet technology comes to the front stage, with a system that allows us to share or sell the surplus: a collaborative energy Internet that gives access to all regions and continents.
Make climate change a national priority.
This means involving every single town across the countries. Here’s where the third demand of Extinction Rebellion would be a good fit: “creating a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice”. Today, there is still no sign that the government intends to set up a citizens’ assembly to address the climate crisis. However, this seems to us a very feasible goal to achieve. According to a recent poll By Greenpeace, two-thirds of people in the UK recognise there is a climate emergency and 76% say that they would cast their vote differently to protect the planet. People are ready to get involved.
Make our buildings climate-friendly so they no longer waste energy.
It is essential to reconvert all the infrastructure in its full potential to shift to renewables. As Rifkin suggests, 191 million buildings in the EU should have green power plants set up in the roofs to collect solar energy, wind energy off the sides of the building, geothermal energy from the ground below the building and biomass energy from the conversion of garbage in the building. Fun fact is that Notre-Dame is considering a new roof for the cathedral that would provide food and energy for Paris.
The good thing is that this will require an incredible workforce: “Converting the entire building infrastructure will generate millions of jobs and create new opportunities for thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises stretching over a 40-year period” declares Rifkin. A consequential effect is that the digitalisation and robotisation don’t necessarily would mean the end of work for the next generations.
Speed the transition to electric cars and end sales of new petrol & diesel cars by 2030.
If you want to listen to someone more clever than ourselves on the electric cars topic, this is what Elon Musk told on his interview at the Joe Rogan Experience show:
“We must have a sustainable energy transport and infrastructure in the long term, so why run this crazy experiment where we take trillions of tons of carbon from underground and put it in the atmosphere and the oceans? This is an insane experiment. It’s the dumbest experiment in human history.”
We have an amazing opportunity with Tesla opening free-to-use patents open for anyone to use. Perfect timing and a critical push for electric cars to be planned worldwide; a key part of the fix for climate change.
Exciting to see all the new electric vehicles coming to market! We created Tesla to accelerate a sustainable future & it’s happening!https://t.co/IqREiDqIyL
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 31, 2019
Help Earth to recover.
After centuries of studying nature, there is no question that we understand what our planet needs to recover. Business comes in for us as a natural solution to embrace the circular economy, and if we were to look around us, there are so many potential materials that are treated as waste. But waste is not waste until it’s wasted, and we can learn from nature to live sustainably.
There are amazing startups in the field such as Recircle Recycling, a zero-waste closed-loop recycling system converting rubbish into valuable materials. It will help us to get in control of our recycling, benefit the environment but help us move toward a circular economy. ReCircle is designed to be installed in households, hospitals, offices, sports stadiums. So far 276 Investors and Backers have already supported them in their Crowdcube crowdfunding campaign, and you can do that too! Our question: is the UK Government looking into these options or open to having conversations with world leaders in the field? In any case, it should happen much quicker (we thought they had declared an emergency!!)
What involves a state of climate emergency?
There’s no clear definition of what declaring a “climate emergency” means, but several cities, including Bristol and London, have already declared their own. In the meantime, only two major media publications have published about this important matter. We share the frustration of Greta Thunberg in her last tweet:
Where are the breaking news?
The extra news broadcasts?
The front pages?
Where are the emergency meetings?
The crisis summits?
What could be more important?
We are failing but we have not yet failed.
We can still fix this.
But not if we continue like today.
Not a chance. https://t.co/qzeAJpJHei
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) May 7, 2019
We’d like to encourage you all to keep working together towards this important goal. There are so many steps you can take to slow down with the way we consume. Daily actions such as searching in our browsers can now be used to plant trees – not kidding, Ecosia is a sustainable search engine alternative.
What can you do today to fight Climate Emergency?
Transitioning to a more eco-conscious lifestyle is not difficult, and should not me more complex than some of the key swaps we recommend. Here are a few quick resources we have for you:
- Become an Earth Protector by supporting the Ecocide Law
- An easy guide with 10 quick tips to get started in the zero waste lifestyle.
- For more advanced ecowarriors, here is the ultimate guide with 62 tips to embrace a more eco-conscious lifestyle.
- Going plastic-free and understanding the impact of brands is also made straight forward with this ebook with 80 easy tips to plastic-free.
Do you have any specific challenge? We can help you! Comment below, connect with us on social media and we will give you the best solutions. Moving to an eco-conscious lifestyle was never as easier and FUN!