New climate – how does energy affect it?
With the outcome of COP-26 around us and various analyzes giving different pictures of its success, we are pleased that John Doggart OBE has offered to write two blogs for us.
John is a longtime member of the board of YouGen’s “Print Charity”, National Energy Foundation (NEF), and has over 50 years of experience as a champion of buildings with lower CO2 emissions. John’s ideas, drive, commitment and generosity have provided many improvements in sustainability. He was involved in developing BREEAM, the first widespread building environment assessment method in the world, and was the key driver behind NEF’s SuperHome initiative – and speaks out by transforming his own Victorian home into a SuperHome and achieving a 70% CO2 reduction.
The first blog, about comparing the impact of Covid with the potential impact of climate change, is hard-hitting and makes it hard to read when comparing the statistics on the graphs. But, he argues, we need to know the truth about carbon and its impact on the climate, and perhaps more importantly, he comes up with a solution in the next blog, so keep reading!
The burning of carbon dioxide means that within 30 years, some places on earth will be intolerable. There will be disasters and disasters. But what is the magnitude of the disaster, and how are other disasters compared to our most recent disaster, Covid?
We are currently living with the aftermath of the Covid disaster. We know this is awful. We know that millions of people have died and many more will die before it is over.
Here are disasters that have taken place over the last 100 years. The length of the column shows the death rates. Look first at the middle set of events. The Spanish flu, the huge epidemic of the 1920s, is about in the middle. Most of the other events are due to wars. Here, for example, is the death rate in the Japanese war in China (1937-45) Now look at the bottom events, both Covid. Surprisingly, they are the lowest death rates. Yes, it lowest. In other words, all these great catastrophes are worse than our present catastrophe.
Land look at the three disasters at the top of the graph. These are the deaths that we can expect in the future, according to various scenarios, due to the impact of climate change. Yyou can immediately see that the future is likely to be much worse than any man-made event we have yet experienced. The longest red line is worst case scenario if we fail to limit global warming to something similar to what is required and the catastrophic eco-meltdown happens. That second line refers to 3 planet theory, whereby if we continue to live as we do at the moment, we would need three planets to support ourselves. And the third line, 40, is the scenario where countries work together and keep global warming to the talismanic 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. and assumes that we manage to reduce resource consumption and global warming to enough to almost sustain our lifestyle, and “only” exceed the target of remaining within the planet’s resource limits by 0.8. We’re looking in here a dark hole where we could even with a good result experience 50 times the death rate of other terrible pandemics. One way to look at it is to sit in line with others. In a “good” result, any other person is likely to disappear. In a “bad” result, 3 more people on either side of you may also disappear.
DEATHS FROM DISASTERS
OK, now let’s look at the death rates compared to Covid in the UK, which seems to have weathered the worst storm. Here we can see the same pattern as the previous slide, with the future scenarios probably on average 300 times worse than the current Covid death rates in the UK.
Disaster size compared to Covid
These truly horrific death rates will of course vary greatly from country to country, but no matter where we live, we will require a huge and sustained effort to reduce the damage.
OK, we’ve seen that this catastrophe is likely to be the worst that humanity has ever experienced. What has been done so far to improve our chances of survival? Read my next blog to find out a possible approach.