Not Australia, that’s for sure. Our politicians seem to have defaulted to being crusaders for fossil fuel.
Other countries are taking a different approach, further motivated by one of the most comprehensive reports on climate change ever released. In the report, climate experts are calling for an end to fossil fuels altogether. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the IPPC report was “code red for humanity”.
The last five years have been the hottest on record since 1850 and without climate commitments from governments around the world, we won’t be able to limit global warming. To halt or possibly even reverse temperature increases, the authors say we have to cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
“This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” Guterres said. “Countries should also end all new fossil fuel exploration and production, and shift fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy.”
Currently however, most electricity still comes from climate-polluting, fossil-fuel sources. Heating is invariably gas-driven and most cars internal combustion. Most goods currently require fossil fuels to make them and transport them to the shop or to the front door. Conversely, access to affordable, reliable, convenient energy of any sort is far from a given in many parts of the globe.
This is the background to an energy revolution that needs to happen over the next three decades if we are to hit net-zero carbon emissions. “The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced,” said Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), in May, as he unveiled the agency’s landmark report Net Zero By 2050.
So which countries are embracing this challenge and already leading the way with bans on fossil fuel exploration and extraction?