The pressure will increase in the coming years. People are taking to the streets en masse for more and better climate policy, and especially faster climate action. Actions get grim, because politicians don’t move at first. People get desperate. Worried people win lawsuit after lawsuit. After a few major disasters in New York, Shanghai, Moscow, São Paulo, London and Northern Italy, we finally wake up.
All countries are joining forces and almost completely banning the use of oil, coal and natural gas within fifteen years. Initially, this is done in the old way, whereby the market wants to do the work. High tax on CO2 emissions and on everything that extracts raw materials from the earth; low tax on labour. Accelerated scaling up of sustainable energy and changing production processes so that they emit as few greenhouse gases as possible. This is already possible. It mainly requires major investments in new production methods, accelerated depreciation of unsustainable production methods and the use of as few raw materials as possible in a circular economy that is as circular as possible. Just as governments financed and invested billions during the credit crisis and in corona times, this is now happening for the climate.
Then we discover that we will have to take much more rigorous measures, because we have already emitted so many greenhouse gases until 2022 (which do not just disappear) that the market will not help us in time. Governments are taking matters into their own hands and, together with the population, are putting their shoulders to the wheel under a huge crisis program. For the parts of the world that cause a lot of emissions, that means a hard stop on the consumer society.
That requires education, information and explanations to people to show that most of the greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the production and transport of the things we buy and want new again and again, from cars and houses to clothing and trinkets. In addition, we fly too much and waste not only energy, but also food in a throw-away society with too much waste. We are going to realize that we have to restrict that rigorously. Just like during the covid pandemic, when we hardly flew for a short period, many shops were closed, most products from China were no longer delivered and consumption was at a low level. From 2025 this will be the case again for a longer period of time.
This is only possible if people understand that continuing as usual will result in an unlivable world. And if they get something else in return that might be very rewarding? It will take time for everyone to see that, so there will undoubtedly be a lot of anger, chaos, unrest, doubt. This requires good, just leaders with a straight back and excellent communication skills. The transition period will certainly not be easy.