The appalling threat of global warming is back as the top international concern, despite the attempts by certain politicians to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.
Scientists (and indeed anyone who has passed their elementary science classes in primary school) all understand that burning fossil fuels creates greenhouse gases, which increases global temperatures.
It is why temperatures have risen relentlessly since the onset of the industrial revolution in Europe and are now accelerating as the rest of the world’s population also leaps into cars and switches on their air-con or central heating.
Together the world population needs to work out how to control the effects or together we will suffer – appallingly.
This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a special report which it described as its final call on policy makers to take action before it is too late to prevent temperatures rising above a catastrophic 1.5C, potentially within as little as twelve years.
It is not a political matter, although politicians seeking votes in areas where jobs involve fossil fuel production might seek to say it is. It is instead a reality that affects all of us and this is now even being admitted by one of the heads of an industry that has been most culpable for the problem.
For decades oil bosses have led the highly funded global propaganda war against the warnings of scientists about greenhouse gases, denying climate change exists. However, in response to the impending crisis even they have apparently started to break away from the dishonest arguments that only a handful of irresponsible political parties still cling on to in developed countries.
Speaking out today in the UK’s Guardian newspaper the head of Shell, a company that has been siphoning oil out of Malaysian waters for decades, acknowledged the crisis that has been generated by his own industry and announced what he believes is the only realistic speedy solution – which is to re-grow our rainforests.
At last! The obvious, most beneficial and massive measure to reverse the causes of climate change, campaigned for by this blog since its inception and by so many other observers around the world, is finally being recognised by those who have the money and influence to make it happen.
So, now the arguments are over. The native people of Borneo who fought to keep their jungles were of course right and the ‘modernisers’ who sought to fill their pockets from their destruction have been proven tragically and disastrously wrong.
Now it is time to get to work on repairing the damage and reversing global warming, which puts Borneo centre stage for a global programme of rainforest regeneration. It is time to roll back the failing oil palm mono-culture that has started to become increasingly rejected on the international market place for health and environmental reasons. With help from advocates and backers like Shell, lets regenerate the land with careful reforestation and sustainable exploitation that puts the people first.
Science can again explain why. The regrowth of tropical trees would result in a massive act of carbon capture from the atmosphere, which those plants employ as their building blocks. It was burning off buried old plants that had released that carbon along with water vapour (and methane in the case of peat bogs) into the air in the first place and this is the way to suck it out again.
But, don’t ask Sarawak Report, no scientist, for further details, ask the boss of Shell, who is most definitely a scientist and one whose obvious commercial interests have till now encouraged his industry to hide the truth. Twelve years away from a 1.5C increase in temperatures, which threatens the imminent destruction of his marketplace as climate change destroys the planet, Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, has come forward to advocate mass reforestation as the only action that humans can undertake quickly enough to tackle the problem.
Let us take him at his word. Malaysia ought lead the way in demanding that the company that has made a fortune from its Borneo operations should now assist in showing the way and making it an economically viable project for East Malaysia and beyond in Borneo.
The cash-strapped Malaysian government should together with Shell work out a way to profit out of regrowing forests in one of the world’s richest but most sparsely populated regions.
Key measures should include ripping out palm plantations, which benefit just a few corrupt companies and their political placemen and re-growing jungle there instead. Likewise, Sarawak’s greedy governor, Taib Mahmud, ought to be turned upside down, so that the money falls out of his pockets to help the process.
Such measures could help solve Malaysia’s corruption engendered budget crisis and tackle global warming at the same time, so it’s time to talk to Shell, the IPCC and the world’s saner governments about the best ways forward.
See the article in today’s UK Guardian newspaper below:
Ben van Beurden says ‘another Brazil in terms of rainforest’ will help achieve UN target.
The boss of Shell has said a huge tree-planting project the size of the Amazon rainforest would be needed to meet a tougher global warming target, as he argued more renewable energy alone would not be enough.
Ben van Beurden said it would be a major challenge to limit temperature rises to 1.5C (equivalent to a rise of 2.7F), which a landmark report from the UN’s climate science panel has said will be necessary to avoid dangerous warming.
“You can get to 1.5C, but not by just by pulling the same levers a little bit harder, because they are being pulled roughly as fast and and as hard as we are currently imagining. What we think can be done is massive reforestation. Think of another Brazil in terms of rainforest: you can get to 1.5C,” he told an oil and gas industry audience in London.
“It’s not what some people sometimes think: we’ll just do a little bit more solar, a bit more wind and we’ll get there,” he added.
Reforestation is seen as essential in the scenarios outlined this week by the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change, if the world is to restrict warming to 1.5C.
But Van Beurden stressed that meeting the challenge would be an uphill battle, because while it was “technically about doable”, it would not be commercially viable without changes to government policies and regulation. “Already to get to less than 2C will be [a] quite unimaginable, unprecedented scale of collaboration. Getting to 1.5C is a major challenge on top of it,” he said.
But the Shell chief executive was adamant that gas, which makes up a growing share of the firm’s portfolio, would have have a role to play in a 1.5C world.
“You can have an endless discussion about semantics. Is it a transition role, a destination role? In the end it is a bit of both,” he told the Oil and Money conference.
He said observers should not mistake headlines on the company’s forays into low-CO2 projects as a sign it was “going soft” on oil and gas.
In the past year, Shell has made investments in electric car infrastructure firms, offered support to the government bringing forward its proposed ban on new petrol and diesel car sales and bought up one of the UK’s biggest electricity and gas suppliers.
Van Beurden said renewables would become a bigger part of what the company does in future, but it could only move as far as society did.
“That means Shell’s core business is, and will be for the foreseeable future, very much in oil and gas,” he said.
Separately, Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) said there was no doubt gas would be a fuel of the future, even with tough climate targets. “We believe natural gas will continue to play a key role, not as a so-called transition fuel but rather in our view, a destination fuel,” said Saad al-Kaabi, chief executive of Qatar Petroleum.
The state-owned company recently announced plans for a significant expansion of its LNG production and exports, which account for nearly a third of the UK’s gas imports.
Kaabi said it was difficult to believe in the IPCC 1.5C report if it did not spell out the cost of hugely reducing the world’s reliance on gas. But he denied he was being dismissive of the report. “My comment is it doesn’t make sense that you could get rid of so much [oil and gas] volume unless you give me a solution that is different from just renewables,” he said.