Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Time Magazine, the struggle to keep global warming below 1.5C is all but lost – but governments have to keep spending money.
Did We Just Blow Our Last, Best Chance to Tackle Climate Change?
In mid-2020, after the pandemic had settled in, I wrote in a TIME cover story that the stars had aligned to make 2020 and 2021 the “last, best chance” to keep the world from experiencing the worst impacts of climate change. Temperatures have risen more than 1.1°C since the Industrial Revolution, and the COVID-19 pandemic had unexpectedly opened up new pathways to rethink the global economy to help the world avoid the 1.5°C of temperature rise, long seen as a marker of when the planet will start to experience the catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change.
Now, 18 months later, the world seems poised to blow it. Governments across the globe have failed to spend big on a green economic recovery. Political leaders from the world’s largest economies have made lofty promises to eliminate their carbon footprints but failed to offer concrete policies to get there. And President Joe Biden’s ambitions for bold climate legislation have been stymied in Congress.
The Biden Administration has described its strategy as an “all of government” approach, meaning every agency and official needs to consider how their work can help address the issue. But, despite a swathe of new rules and regulations targeting emissions, the Administration has hinged much of its agenda on a key piece of legislation dubbed Build Back Better.
Without it, or something of equal scale, the target remains an empty promise. “It’s impossible to get from here to there without these investments,” says John Podesta, the former advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama who now works on climate issues, of the role Build Back Better bill plays in meeting Biden’s goal.
Of course, we all still have an opportunity to atone. No matter how dire the crisis, there always has to be a way back for the climate sinners.
The leaders of the climate movement appear to consciously walk a narrow line between motivational fear and disengaged despair. Anyone who crosses the line gets a smack from fellow Climate activists. In my opinion, none of them appear to care about the very real suffering they inflict on their trusting followers.