“I stand at the head of a government representing all parties in the state. All creeds, all classes, every recognisable section of opinion … we are supported by a free parliament and a free press, but there is one bond which unites us all, and sustains us in the public regard, namely – as is increasingly becoming known – that we are prepared to proceed to all extremity, to endure them and to enforce them. That is our bond of union.” Winston Churchill, 14 July 1940
“I have full confidence that if all do their duty the worst of this crisis can be averted. Let our opponents do their worst. We will do our best. We will prevail.”
Investors take inspiration from Churchill
Winston Churchill “rose to the challenges presented by international emergencies. That is to say, we consider his forthright approach to extreme adversity apropos. Given the lack of societal and investor response to climate change relative to the scale of the threat it presents, we hope to motivate more of the ESG community to act in accordance with their values by invoking his leadership.” Channelling the spirit of Winston Churchill, by Paul Dickinson (Executive Chair, CDP), Robert Schwarz (Senior Associate, Preventable Surprises) and Raj Thamotheram (CEO, Preventable Surprises)
“Investors, like governments and companies, have been alerted to the dangers of uncontrolled climate change for two or more decades. As a consequence of our collective neglect, society now faces the procrastinator’s penalty: there are only radical solutions from which to choose.” Climate ‘Churchill’
“No war is risk free. No warrior victorious without courage. Collective efforts and shared goals can achieve much. It is no use saying, we are doing our best. Sometimes you have to do what is necessary.
Further considerations include your existing position of privilege and unparalleled access to information regarding the consequences of climate change. Being among the most highly paid in society, the former affords you freedom from having to bear the blood, toil, tears, and sweat that many are already facing, and that many more are certain to face as a result of unchecked climate change. With great privilege comes great responsibility. The latter benefit of knowledge obliges you to act ethically. Complacence is not illegal, though it may be equally disastrous.” Climate ‘Churchill’
“We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight … in the air … we shall fight on the beaches … we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Winston Churchill
“The quote is adapted only slightly from Winton Churchill’s famous 1940 speech. That call helped change the course of WW2 and history. This call is in sympathy and support for the May 2016 #BreakFree campaign by 350.org (and other organisations round the world) – to expand action in getting global emissions cut.
This is a call for serious engagement of minds and hearts, a push for effective actions, in all countries.
It is a call for members to expand their actions, especially in all theatres of society that they reach – communicating the basics of the challenge and the urgently needed paths forward.”
We need ideas leadership. The rate of climate action needs to be more urgent than the politicians want to speak about, says David Spratt, author of ‘Climate Reality Check’, in this short audio interview:
“We need a check to see where things are at. We have had expectations about climate change – how fast things would change. We had a bit of a shock with the forest fires at Christmas in Tasmania, which for people who go bush walking was a big “Wow! I didn’t expect this this quickly!” – and we have just had some data saying that February was the hottest month on record ever by 0.2 degree – normally it is one hundredth of a degree. So I thought I should write something trying to get us up to date.
The paper is called ‘Climate Reality Check’ – and it says what is going on now, and what we need to learn from it. And the obvious answer is that it is more urgent than we thought, and the rate of action needs to be more urgent than the politicians want to speak about.”
“So are people listening?”
“Oh, look, I think we are getting a great response. It is being discussed on forums around the world. People are saying to me: ‘Yes, the climate movement, some of the big groups, have been too conservative.’
We can’t only worry about what we need to say to people in marginal seats at election time, we also need ideas leadership. I mean, it reminds me a bit about the situation before the Second World War in England, where we had a prime minister who wanted to say ‘Peace in our time’, and so on, and to make a peace pact with Germany, which wasn’t a good idea. Churchill was the opposition leader and was opposed to this, but nobody wanted to listen to him.
Then suddenly the penny dropped, and Churchill went from being this dissident voice saying ‘We’ve got a problem and we’ve really got to face that’ – to becoming prime minister. He made speeches and transformed society.
I think that is the moment we are on climate change – of saying: ‘Yes, the normal expectations won’t work. We want real leadership now!’, and… it is hard to talk about wars and leadership, but everybody knows that Churchill helped to inspire a nation and to do amazing things – and amazing things are what we have to do on climate now.”
The interview was recorded by Mik Aidt on 18 March 2016 at a national Climate Action Network conference in Melbourne, Australia.
As planet burns hot, new report shows Paris a relic of historic failure
Scientists say they are shocked and stunned by the “unprecedented” NASA temperature figures for February 2016, which are 1.65°C higher than the beginning of the 20th century and around 1.9°C warmer than the pre-industrial level.
Stefan Rahmstorf of Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research says we are now “in a kind of climate emergency”.
Like the dramatic and unexpected “big melt” in the Arctic in 2007, we are now in another moment of terrifying climate reality, for Nature cannot be fooled. The recent data suggests it has taken just three months for the Paris climate accord — with its escalating emissions to 2030 — to become a relic, completely disconnected to the task the world now faces.
So what is the reality after Paris?, asks David Spratt from Climate Action Moreland and gives an answer to this in his quickly read paper, ‘Climate Reality Check’.
The climate emergency: Time to switch to panic mode?
“The latest temperature data are nothing but spine-chilling. What are we seeing? Is this just a sort of a rebound from the so-called ‘pause’? Or something much more worrisome? We may be seeing something that portends a major switch in the climate system; an unexpected acceleration of the rate of change. There are reasons to be worried, very worried.”
“Because of the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, stemming mainly from the burning of fossils fuel, Earth is in a state of significant energy imbalance. That imbalance now averages about 0.6 Watts/m2 over the entire planet – equivalent to exploding more than 400,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year.” Dr James Hansen
In February 2016, ten Victorian community climate action groups sent an eight-page document to the Victorian Government outlining the actions the state government should take to drive emissions reductions, and describing the magnitude of the emissions reductions required. Here is a short summary of their recommendations:
“SET A TARGET OF ZERO EMISSIONS IN TEN YEARS
The role of state governments is particularly important if the federal government continues with policies which are not even close to those required to meet our international obligations. Victoria can be, and should be, a leader on climate action and we are heartened by your interest in this goal.
In order to secure the conditions needed for the wellbeing of current and future generations, we call on the Victorian government to ensure that Victoria’s emissions reductions targets are based on recognition of the need for an emergency transition to a zero emissions economy and for drawdown of the excess greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
INFORM POLICY MAKERS AND THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE NEED FOR EMERGENCY ACTION
We welcome the stronger language already being used by the Victorian government and the use of detailed briefings on likely changes in local areas as a way of engaging people in the reality of climate change. However, the job is only half done. We call on the state government to be much more direct in letting the public know that big changes are needed in order to address climate change – including a rapid transition to zero emissions – and that there is no choice as the effects of climate change are potentially catastrophic.
In particular we call on the Victorian government to:
• ensure that members of parliament and bureaucrats involved in policy and planning are well informed about the need for a rapid transition to zero emissions and the scaling up of draw-down and sequestration
• begin a process of considering how best to convey the need for large scale transformation to members of the public, so that they are inspired by the possibilities of transformation and reassured that the government recognises the seriousness of the threat
IMMEDIATE ACTION TO BEGIN REDUCING EMISSIONS TO ZERO AND BEYOND
We call on the Victorian government to implement:
• an emergency speed transition to a zero emissions economy in all sectors of society in about ten years (including stationary energy, buildings, transport, land use and industry)
• the rapid scaling up of safe measures to draw-down the excess greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere (including re-afforestation and increased levels of soil carbon).
All the technology we require to reach zero emissions is already available, what is required is the political will to drive the scale and speed of change which is required. The drawdown of greenhouse gases at the scale required will require support for further research and development of scalable and safe methods and these must be pursued as a matter of urgency.
We ask you to have the courage to say what Schellnhuber found too difficult to tell, and spell out in clear and evocative language both the unspeakable risks we face, and the inspiring opportunity that transition to a zero emissions society provides. We ask you to immediately begin on the path of bold and transformative action we need.
We ask you to provide the kind of leadership required at this pivotal point in history.”
“Failure to act now will haunt us till the end of time.”
~ Garnaut, 2008
The Victorian government had requested input from the communities, citizens and businesses:
“The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is building a framework for climate change action in Victoria that will be released in 2016. The Department want to hear about the challenges and opportunities for climate change action, your vision for a thriving and resilient future for Victoria, and how government can work with you to get us there.
The role of the Victorian Climate Change framework will be to outline:
• a shared vision for a Climate Ready Victoria in 2030,
• principles of state government focus and action,
• the role for all Victorians to support the shared vision, and
• key actions of government in mitigation and adaptation to support the vision.”
» Read or download the submission (PDF, 8 pages)
“The disconnect between Australian politics and the urgency of our climate crisis is dizzying. Australia’s so-called leaders are a bunch of Neros, fiddling while the atmosphere burns.” Ben Eltham, New Matilda’s National Affairs Correspondent
The organisers of Earth Hour ask: Will you email PM Turnbull, and ask him to get rid of wasteful fossil fuel subsidies in the next budget?
To help you get started, here’s the kind of thing you could say:
‘Dear Mr Turnbull,
The government spends around $12 billion a year on fossil fuel subsidies. That means taxpayers are paying big polluters to keep pumping out pollution, which is causing climate change. I want to see the government get rid of fossil fuel subsidies in the next budget, and instead invest in clean, renewable technology for a safer climate future.’
“The point is that climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here. It is happening now. Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies, our energy, our infrastructure, human health, human safety – now. Today. And climate change is a trend that affects all trends – economic trends, security trends. Everything will be impacted. And it becomes more dramatic with each passing year.”
“If we do nothing, temperatures in Alaska are projected to rise between six and 12 degrees by the end of the century, triggering more melting, more fires, more thawing of the permafrost, a negative feedback loop, a cycle – warming leading to more warming – that we do not want to be a part of. And the fact is that climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. That, ladies and gentlemen, must change. We’re not acting fast enough.”
“People will suffer. Economies will suffer. Entire nations will find themselves under severe, severe problems. More drought; more floods; rising sea levels; greater migration; more refugees; more scarcity; more conflict. That’s one path we can take. The other path is to embrace the human ingenuity that can do something about it. This is within our power. This is a solvable problem if we start now. And we’re starting to see that enough consensus is being built internationally and within each of our own body politics that we may have the political will – finally – to get moving.”
Obama speaks out on climate change
President Obama spoke on climate change on 31 August 2015
In 2015, President Obama travelled to Alaska to shine a spotlight on what Alaskans in particular have come to know: Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now.