Holistic Approach to Tackling the Climate Change Crisis
The Scope of This Article
I don’t intend to delve into the technical or scientific details of climate change and its causes, or focus in depth on any aspects of the remedies.
This is purely an overview to encompass a wide spectrum of a very complex topic to illustrate that every effort to tackle climate change is important.
The purpose of this overview is that a significant number of Americans I speak with on social media are very dismissive of the good efforts being made by governments around the world to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy and fossil fuel cars with electric cars because, in their view, those efforts are undermined by other more pressing issues such as rainforest fires, plastic waste pollution and population explosion etc.
Whereas dismissing these good efforts, because they don’t tackle the other issues, is self-defeatist.
Therefore I wish to raise awareness on a holistic level, and help to show that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’; that while we also need to tackle the issues of rainforest fires, cows methane, plastic waste and recycling etc., we also need to fully engage in replacing oil & coal with renewable energies, and fossil fuel car with electric cars, as a matter of urgency.
Causes and Effects of Climate Change
What is the Holistic Approach to Tackling Climate Change?
It’s all inclusive; tackling every aspect of climate change from every angle.
The two main prongs of the holistic approach are:-
- Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere, and
- Carbon Capture; taking CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Why Aren’t Governments Taking the Holistic Approach?
In my view they are
When a Government commits to reducing carbon emissions by 80% or ‘Net Zero’ by 2050, as most Governments around the world have, then that commitment does include a holistic approach.
The confusion (from my discussions with Americans) is that a lot of Americans I speak with focus on the headlines, and don’t delve into the details. So when they hear that Europe, China and other countries around the world are rapidly replacing fossil fuels with Renewable Energy, and ICE vehicles with EV vehicles, they often argue things like it’s all a waste of time because methane from cows, plastics in the ocean, and the Amazon rainforest fires have a far bigger impact on our climate, and the world is doing little or nothing to tackle these other issues.
Fighting Climate Change on All Fronts
The problem with news reports (in this respect) is that they are not all-encompassing, and neither should they be e.g. if an article features wind farms there is no reason why it should also mention plastic pollution in the ocean.
When the news media reports on the successful progress of renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, or of governments plans to ban ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and replace them with EV (Electric Vehicles), then those news reports are specific to just that aspect of combating climate change.
Likewise, reporting on Amazon rainforest fires or the high levels of emissions of methane from cows having a dramatic effect on Climate Change are also separate issues.
The point is that all these separate issues (and others not mentioned here) are not exclusive of each other, and to combat climate change, all need to be tackled; and that is what most governments (to varying degrees) are doing.
When a government commits itself to replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, and ban all fossil fuel cars, it doesn’t mean that they are focusing in just those areas, to the exclusion of all other climate change issues. For just a couple of examples, in separate statements the EU is putting political pressure on Brazil to tackle the rainforest fires in the Amazon; and is also making various efforts to reduce the volume of methane released into the atmosphere by cows.
Limiting Climate Change Impact
The strategies by each country to meet, or exceed, its targets set for 2020, 2030 & 2050, to reduce its ‘carbon footprint’, and help to limit the impact of climate change, isn’t limited to just phasing out the use of fossil fuels in preference for renewable energy and EV vehicles, it’s a whole package that includes:-
- Electrification of transport, including road, rail, shipping and potentially air
- Making homes and businesses more energy efficient
- Making electrical appliances more energy efficient
- Encouraging the growth of local markets e.g. more food being grown and sold locally rather than around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation
- Aiming for ‘zero waste to landfill’ by improving recycling and converting non-recyclable waste to electricity
- Converting sewage to renewable energy
- Making better use of building materials that have a ‘low carbon’ impact on the environment
- Investing in, and encouraging, Research & Development in all aspects of climate change
- Wide ranging government policies to help protect the seas and the environment as a key factor in limiting the climate change impact
- Reforestation and using only timber from renewable sources
- Running public awareness campaigns to encourage people to eat less meat
The above list is not exhaustive, but when you put it altogether it amounts to a holistic approach that most governments around the world are following, to varying degrees of enthusiasm and success, to tackle climate change.
Some would say its ‘too little, too late’, but that’s no reason to give up, or not even bother to make an effort; it’s all the more reason that efforts should be doubled.
USA vs The World
I am disappointed that many Americans I speak with are still in denial about Anthropogenic Climate Change and its effects on global warming, or if they recognise the problem take such a defeatist attitude.
I am also frustrated by Trump’s denial of ‘Climate Change’, and his whole hearted support of the American coal and oil industries that unabated are making it that much harder for the rest of the world to combat the effects of climate change.
Although I am encouraged that a few Americans I’ve recently spoken with do recognise the issue and are actively campaigning to raise awareness in America.
In contrast to America I am encouraged with the efforts and achievements being made by most countries around the world, including China, to combat climate change. Most of the publicity tends to focus on the rapid rollout of renewable energy and electric cars, which is gradually replacing the use of fossil fuels; but when you dig deeper, looking at all issues and what each country is doing to tackle each issue, then it can be seen that these countries are tacking a holistic approach.
Trump Says He's Ending the War on Coal
As is well publicised; in the USA oil companies lobby Trump to keep the status quo, stifling development and rollout of renewable energy and electric cars.
In contrast, in Europe oil companies are investing in Research and Development (R&D) of renewable energy; and in Britain Shell oil company is taking a leading role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Shell Oil: Renewable Energy Advert
Campaigning and Lobbying
The more people campaign and lobby on the various climate change issues, especially in the USA where momentum has been slow, the more the news media and politicians will sit up and take notice.
Although we still have a long way to go; and time is rapidly running out.
Greta Thunberg Rips World Leaders at the U.N. Over Climate Change
Britain’s Response to Lobbying
British Governments have been committed to tackling climate change for a long time, but there is always more that can be done. In this respect, concerted campaigning and lobbying of politicians in the UK has had a profound effect.
As a direct result of the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in London in May 2019, and Greta Thunberg meeting British MPs in Parliament, in June 2019 Parliament declared a ‘State of Climate Emergency’; and the following month Theresa May passed a law committing the UK to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emission by 2050.
UK Becomes First Country to Turn its Back on Fossil Fuels (How Life Will Change in a World of Net Zero Emissions)
I am referencing specifically the UK because that’s where I live, and therefore I can speak more authoritative about it than elsewhere.
In spite of the fact that the UK Government is Conservative and therefore not naturally ‘Green’ by nature, it has nevertheless embraced the need for Britain to reduce its ‘carbon footprint’ in accordance with the ‘Paris Agreement’; and like many European countries has already exceeded its 2020 target towards achieving 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
Not only that, but the UK Government went a step further in July 2019 when it set in law that it will achieve ‘net zero carbon emission’ by 2050.
Walney Extension in the UK (World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm)
The Scottish Government, which as a Socialist Government, has been even more progressive in tackling climate change to the extent that they now produce such an abundance of Renewable Energy, not only do they frequently export up to 50% of it (as surplus) to England, but they are also beginning to convert some of their surplus renewable energy into hydrogen as an alternate clean energy.
World's First Hydrogen-powered Seagoing Ferries (in Scotland)
ICE vs RV
Do you believe fossil fuel cars should be phased out in your country, and replaced by electric cars within the next 20 years, as is happening across Europe and in China?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Arthur Russ