Humanity is slowely becoming aware to a major threat to its existence. But every individual is different and if you group them there’s a large part that can’t do nothing, a part that can but doesn’t want to do anything, a part that can and does and all the forms inbetween. Why? Because there is a route to herd people into the fossil fuel economy, which requires consumerism, but also because some parts of the world are soo poor nobody there that makes it into some money is going to reign themselves in because of something that may only have consequences in about 50 years time. Even though that timeframe no longer holds many are still unwilling to do anything they are not forced to do if it doesn’t make them more rich.
Oil rich countries are not interested in climate action by selling less oil. Resource rich countries like Indonesia are not interested in not selling land for palm oil, or not selling coal reserves. Australia is a good example of a continent that is run by coal lakeys at tremendous cost to its own citizen. The people that do know what’s going to happen and that do care about it have more or less been waiting, trying to sway a right (pro fossil) government. In de US, UK, Holland, Italy, we still have the economistic approach that touts growth over survival, that looks at fossilfuel cashflow, the GDP as an indicator of succes, not even mean productivity per sqaure km of the land which is after all what has to keep the citizen alive. Fossil fuels completely distorted the picture.
The fact is the world, all of us will have to see enormous projects to recapture CO2, and some organization will have to execute those projects. And within that organization factual empirical truth extended by high quality models need to guild the allocation of resources towards those projects. That is serious stuff. That is something that needs to be monitored by the sharpest intelligent people in order to work. It is something that needs to go on for a long time (hence our proposal for millenium projects run by automated systems).
But what can we (those that care about the future) do in a shorter timeframe. We think that it makes sense to cut of oil from anyone who doesn’t use it for anything else than to “grow its economy”. That’s tough but instead we can supply them with renewable technology. Its much harder to revert to a rural existence than to never leave it. This will happen if the price of oil rises, if trade from those countries is reduced and if the World bank doesn’t fight “poverty” there. This is harsh but it makes sense. Don’t help countries to get addicted to oil, coal or gas, help them to build renewables, who’s capacity is much larger and which they can own themselves.
If a country is fossil fuel rich and if the companies involved in getting oil out of the ground are still operating freely what can you do? Oil corrupts, it does so everywhere. If you have oil you can buy anyone because our world is soo addicted. Now that Jeff Bezos decided to order more than 100.000 electric vans, diesel sales to Amazon will slow down. Use of electricity in other places also reduces demand for fuel. But an unenlightened country like Indonesia will simply sell its gasoline to its citizen, and export it and mine its coal and burn its rainforests, while moving its capital to Borneo because 1. Jakarta will drown, 2. That’s a big Dubai style building project. Asia has taken the lead over its own future, we don’t realize it yet.
Some countries will have to have its development halted by force. That is if there is enough countries that can project force that can unite to do it. Here the energy imbalance becomes a problem. Traditionally countries that have the most energy resources win wars. Even Spain lost the 80 year war because it ran out of gold, the unit of payment for physical labour (energy) in the 1500s. Germany lost the battle for Africa because it ran out of fuel, It lost the war with Russia because it could not reach oil wells. England projected great maritime force because it used Iranian oil. How do you fight a war with a country that has its own oil?
It seems Iran found a way.. it destroyed a refining facility in Saudi Arabia halving its output. Saudi Arabia is already in financial distress, its Prince (Mohammed bin Salman or MBS) recently fired the energy minister because revenue from oil sales where problemantic. Now the output is halved which is surely won’t help. Saudi Arabia may not be able to fight a war with Iran, even if the US wants to help, because with current weapons many installations are just too vulnerable. Also you don’t really want to knock out the fuel supply before we have sufficient alternatives. Its not fair to the people of Suadi Arabia as well, who have after all shared their oil wealth willingly or unwillingly for decades.
But what can one do? Letting Saudi Arabia persue its desire to meet the demands of its bankers is not the wisest way forward. The Saudi People, used to airco’s big SUVs and all kinds of other perks can easily bear much less luxury, if that was even needed. Who moves the mind MBS into a direction where he feels strong because the future of Saudi and the world is more secure, instead of feeling strong because he did the easiest thing and required those working for him to perform towards a financial goal, the capturing and supporting oil price? It doesn’t help that these princes are highly competitive and pretty brutal.
It would make sense that the group of climate aware and responsive governments combined forces to direct governments towards climate aware policies. The cost effectiveness and ease to do that may far out weigh that of actual carbonsequestration measures (even if those are still needed). What this means is that there should be a new type of colonialism, where foreign forces will tell you what to do with your country or economy. The goal only not being to extract your resources, but to drive your carbon footprint into negative numbers. Also land may be usefull for carbon sequestration projects, and as these projects will be outside the economy (extraeconomical) selling the land for a projected value after use (as is the habit with building plots) makes no sense. The land needs to be made available. This is nothing new, we have seen countries in Africa give up land for foreign industry to operate without taxation or benefit of the population (probably because some officials received serious cash). This climatecolonialism will likely happen, at least we hope. Someone always needs to want to restore the climate and its not sure who will want it if things get bad. In any case the group that needs to start thinking about this is now at the UN Climate Summit in New York.