Things begin falling apart as NASA announces 2016 is hottest year in recorded history. So the threat of climate change proves soaring enough to move countries to break the ice. Here begins a story of men and women standing erect through manmade pains facing the changing planet. Thousands of whom have emptied sorrows to the streets or coal quarries or oil terminals in May 2016 sampling a united will to get rid of dirty energy once and for all.
History may just be rewritten. But the half thrilling and half intimidating side of the truth will forever echo the curse of dirty energy lobby as among the most impossible dystopian illusion of this generation. When the globe finally cools, the battle is successful. When extinction approaches, will the oil industry have planet ‘B’?
Whether or not climate activism is the cup of tea here, the dark past of climate denial, by all standards have bred about 0.04% (400 parts per million) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, many times higher than 400,000 years ago.
Fossil fuel companies bigger than monsters have bankrolled anti-climate change philosophies; climate activists – as meek as lambs of God are being arrested…the list is endless, but the most recent illogical treatment is the arrests of nearly 60 advocates protesting Keystone pipeline in the US. So confirms the saying: “change is painful but inevitable.”
Equally, it might hurt world governments to give up oil wells for the public wellbeing. But the pains and wretchedness resulting from extreme weather conditions such as ill-health, including those caused by droughts, floods, food insecurity and inundation from rising seas is even much long bottled in communities around the world.
Even oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago. In fact, researchers warned American Petroleum Institute in 1968 how the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels could eventually lead to ‘worldwide environmental changes.’
Despite this good faith, they chose to pay a deaf ear, that’s why things had to fall apart. Some did the opposite – trying to challenge climate change science – with illicit documentations. Further evidence unveils that American Petroleum Institute, the peak body for the oil industry in the US, knew about the dangers of climate change at least 20 years before the issue was brought into mainstream public discourse via the former Nasa scientist James Hansen.
The then influential world leaders like the US president Lyndon Johnson also received an early cautioning about climate change, with scientists explaining the mechanism of the greenhouse effect as early as 1965.
For how long could any such delicate matter be hidden? Not too long! With the final blow being the latest Nasa’s thermometers reading global average temperatures as ‘soaring at 1.28C’ as of March above the average from 1951-1980, while February was 1.34C higher, dangerous tipping points, an irreversible benchmark could be crossed.
Climate change is usually crosschecked over years and decades, but even scientists have been struck by the recent unprecedented temperatures. Furthermore, annual heat records have been also breaking records, with 2015 demolishing the record set in 2014 for the hottest year seen, in data stretching back to 1850.
Prof Michael Mann, a climate scientist who spends most of his time between shelves and laboratories of Penn State University also became agile-tonged about March data by saying: “Wow. I continue to be shocked by what we are seeing.” He said the world had now been hovering close to the threshold of “dangerous” warming for two months, something not seen before.”
“The [new data] is a reminder of how perilously close we now are to permanently crossing into dangerous territory,” Mann said. “It underscores the urgency of reducing global carbon emissions.”
As such terrifying facts unfold; the fossil fuel business seems dragging towards hell, with sharp losses resulting from steep price drops. Alternatively, exemplary investors like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is divesting its heavily invested holding in BP.
The weights “breaking” dangerous fossil fuels is the most courageous wave of actions challenging business as usual across the world. Motivated by an ever strengthening, ever stretching effort to achieve 100% renewable energy, breakfree campaign resounds the knell that spelled fossil fuels at the close of COP21.
In the UK, the campaign had the country’s largest open-cast coal mine shut over 12 hours. While in the Philippines, over 10,000 people marched in Batangas city demanding the cancellation of the proposed 600 – megawatt coal powered plant in Barangay Pinamucan.
All signals indicate greener earth and a brighter future will lean on the raptures of renewable energy miracles that must shatter the bondage of carbon dioxide emissions nuclear energy price competitions built from the cradles civilization to the present moment.
To harness the moment, activists and concerned citizens committed to addressing climate change—from international groups to local communities to individual citizens— are united to maintain grips to force energy providers, as well as local and national governments, to steer towards a renewable future through investing in wind and solar energy.
This enviable cause justifies the discharge of thousands of men and women showing the world a glimpse into wrecking resistance through solidarity hard for politicians foster. Each action was unique: from the coal fields of UK, to the oil wells of Nigeria, to defiant actions against new coal power plant in Indonesia and the Philippines -- and many places beyond but all echoes one sound: stop polluting our ecosystem! End fossil fuels. And now.
In order to address the present-day climate crisis, fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced now that renewable energy is more affordable and widespread than ever before. The only way to achieve this is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerating the just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
By Boaz Opio
Environmental Writer, Kampala Uganda.