1932, 1945, and 2020: What do those Years have in Common?

(E) 1932, 1945, and 2020 are the only years, since the beginning of the industrial revolution around 200 years ago, when worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide dropped. And, why did carbon dioxide drop those years? Is that random? Due a specific event? Not at all, It is the economy stupid!

Increased GDP translates to increased emissions of carbon dioxide. If we become serious about aiming toward a reduction of greenhouse emissions, we will need to contract economic growth. If we do not carefully manage the contraction of future economic growth, contraction will occur inexorably when we will run out of fossil fuels.

Sustaining a habitable planet requires in wealthy countries that each of us chooses the environment over our comfort, that each business chooses the environment over profits, and that each government chooses the environment over economic growth.

We need to produce and consume only what we need, stop immediately the use of fossil fuels and in particular, coal, stop worldwide deforestation, and invest in sustaining our natural ecosystems.

We will exceed 1.5°C of warming averaged over the next 20 years, and 2.7°C with current policies and actions by the end of this century.

To meet the Paris agreement of 2°C, we need to lower our emissions to 5% every year over the next 30 years (5% is the impact of Covid 19 on our worldwide greenhouse gas emissions in 2020).

If we reach 2.7°C, hundreds of millions of human lives are at risk in the next decades with the likelihood of conflicts between nations to compete for resources. 

If we reach over 4 to 5°C, half of the world population will be dead, and that would be the end of all democracies for the remaining half that would survive.

We are destroying life on earth. Natural non-renewable resources that are left are finite. When they will be gone, the course to increase our GDP will be over.

So, we should be rethinking very hard about what economic growth and increase standard of living mean if we want to sustain life on earth.


To deep dive:
The Guardian: What did Cop26 actually achieve? 

Jean-Marc Jancovici – Lecture at Ecole Polytechnique:

Aurélien Barrau – Comment habiter maintenant la Terre ? Grandes Conférences Liégeoises

Note: The picture above is from Filoli.

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