Op-Ed: Hurricane Ian and the coming climate crash
The storm of the century. Or so we thought
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, climate change – or at least the catastrophic risks posed by it – has become headline news. Yet here’s the truth: Climate change is not a new issue. What is new about the crisis is that the solutions can’t be found within the systems of capitalism and corporate profit.
We face a crisis that does not only happen in the future, it already is happening.
Capitalism created climate disruption. Capitalism is the cause of global warming, and climate disruption is the worst it has ever been. But to date the crisis hasn’t been fully understood, and the solutions are as yet unknown.
In 2015, as part of my work as the CEO of our Climate Company, I helped launch the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a free, annual, multi-country, open-access, global monitoring system of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from all human activities, and their economic consequences. I was delighted to see that the results of our first survey of 1,500 business people showed that global carbon emissions are growing at least 50 per cent more rapidly than we thought.
This was a sobering reality check for climate change policymakers as they pondered the future of our planet. Their analysis: We will have to do what we can to slow global warming, but “what can we do?” was as pressing a question as ever.
At the 2016 G7 meeting in France, we discovered that the only country that could truly make a difference was China. And there was good reason for optimism. Just over a year before that, the Chinese were celebrating the launch of a new law that, if it proves effective in its first 15 years, will prevent the worst-case projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It could be that, in the end, the only way out of this mess is to turn things around.
But there are a handful of things that need to be done now, and nothing that needs to be done in the next year.
The best thing we could have done is to act earlier. In fact, even the best thing we could have done would still not have been enough.