Does the Fossil Fuel Industry Need to Commit Suicide for Our Climate to Survive?
In the opinion of one of the top climate scientists of the world, Dr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who is also advisor to the German government and to Pope Francis, if we’re to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, an “induced implosion” – read “suicide” – of the fossil fuel industry is necessary.
To support the objective, Dr. Schellnhuber recommends that top investors – such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust – extensively divest their stocks in the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies. He also warns that such an action should take place as soon as possible, as with each passing year, we are more likely to lose the fight against global warming and cause unprecedented climate change.
The message is stark, and investors and national governments would do well to take note. Many climatologists are already convinced that we will not be able to restrict the rise in average global temperature to less than 2°C (3.6F) – the internationally accepted limit of temperature rise in the fight against global warming. Times are, therefore, desperate.
Several of the world’s island nations – such as Fiji, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu (and also Hawaii) – are in danger of being inundated by rising sea levels, and are therefore already investing heavily into achieving a 100% renewable energy economy by 2030 or 2040.
For them it is a matter of self-preservation. Other governments, including those of some large and polluting economies such as Australia, are yet unconvinced. They might simply feel less threatened by climate change. However, the case for renewables in now becoming even stronger: some of te world’s leading economists argue that renewable energy is not only necessary from a climate perspective but the best economic choice as well. They not only see absolute economic sense in investing into renewables, but they are convinced that doing so will actually lead to economic growth by spurring domestic manufacturing and creating local jobs related to distributed energy access.