The buzz-word of 2021 will be, if it isn’t already, Net.
With both the G7 and COP26 being hosted by the UK this year – the Climate Emergency breaking through the COVID-mist to headline at both – the World’s Establishment are rallying behind Net gains from Net promotion: Net-Zero and NET production.
Arguing that they’re “only following the science”, corporate bosses and their political lackeys are hiring media and communications specialists to build their “Green Credentials”. Pricey advertising and glossy brochures proclaim their shift to lowering emissions as a collective capitalist commitment to “Net-Zero by 2050”.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), charged by the United Nations with the responsibility for collating current science reports of global heating, has declared 2050 as the deadline by which human society should emit no more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the amount that can be removed – Net-Zero.
The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, at 0.04% and increasing at an unprecedented rate when compared to most of Earth’s history, largely determines the extent of global warming. The IPCC’s 2018 Report concluded that we are careering towards the very “worst case scenario”, meaning global heating that will see the collapse of human societies and extinction of the majority of life. For a notably over-cautious and conservative body of the Establishment, that’s hard talk.
Talk that has made the super-rich corporate executives shudder. Not from fear of loss of life so much as fear of loss of profits. It doesn’t require much research to recognise that modern global Capitalism is wholly and inextricably reliant upon a carbon-economy. Coal, coke, oil and gas for energy, transport, plastics and steel production. To be told to move away from the carbon-based economy, even over 30 years, is not only a threat to the future of Transnational oil giants but to the profitable infrastructure of every business.
For decades, oil companies had been the biggest investors in the ideology and propaganda of “Climate Denial”, funding and even constructing entire university campuses based-upon concocting quasi-scientific reports to “prove” that the heating was caused by sun-spots, or just natural fluctuations and nothing to worry about, or actually not happening at all.
Worsening extreme weather events and a succession of record-breaking hottest years in history, together with overwhelming numbers of detailed scientific reports and analysis from across the globe finally broke the contrived impasse. The break-through was helped, to the greatest extent, by a growing clamour from below from school students taking strike action to lead a wave of protest that caught the public imagination and won public sign-up. Everywhere. The World is On Fire!
Oil Executives had already assessed the rising tide of opposition, changing their logos from yellow to green or green-lettering to yellow sunshine, projecting the absurd and openly contradictory notion of “clean carbon”. It worked to some extent, but the scientific facts kept exposing their pretty lures as decoys. Public consciousness was getting away, the bait refused, the holes in the arguments exposed.
It was time, once again, for damage limitation, not so much of the Planet but of the projected rate of corporate profits. The arguments were concentrated into two camps, Zero-carbon or Net-Zero.
Global heating emissions were increasing and accelerating, the impacts on sea, ice, land and air each feeding each to ensure heating would continue for decades if not centuries even if we hit the zero-emissions button immediately.
There is no time to lose!” “Keep the Carbon in the Ground, Keep the Oil in the Soil” sang the protesters as they were arrested. Carbon-Zero by 2025 or face Rebellion ahead of Extinction.
Any worthwhile study of the scientific readings and models would expose the need to stop emissions now, but the facts should not get in the way of money-making. It escaped nobody’s attention that the demands would mean, if accepted, the end of the carbon-based economy and, indeed, complete system change. Heavens forbid, the very end of Capitalism -the system of exploitation of Nature and Humanity for accumulation of wealth by a rich few.
The rich few met as the World Economic Forum in 2021 to defend themselves. Under the guise of promoting a “cohesive and sustainable world” they announced The Great Reset Initiative. In a characteristically perverse charade, they blamed COVID-19 not Climate Catastrophe for the need for urgent economic change. But it was carbon emissions rather than viral aerosols that had their attention.
NET – Negative Emissions Technologies – is their collective proclamation. To achieve Net-Zero by 2050, the oil-guzzling, coal-crunching, gas-spewing companies will come clean. Converted as if by magic, they’re offering the latest sleight-of-hand to ensure business as usual as a much as possible.
Carbon-capture-and-storage, the panacea that will allow coal and gas generators to continue to spit, their emissions to be captured and stored instead of emitted, is no more than a distraction from the coming calamity. At present the capture is in its infancy and the storage is unproven. The very few companies investing in the technology are, to a unit, recycling the stored carbon into new fuel that yes, when used, sends emissions back into the atmosphere. And the scale of capture needed, when currently over 43 billion tonnes of CO2 are spewed into the atmosphere each year (imagine a 20 mile wide and high cube) makes the technology a dream rather than a hope. Capture that!
Other pronouncements, from shift from gas and oil to biofuels (Europe declaring the burning of wood as carbon-neutral) are even easier to discount. And while some environmentalists cling-on from understandable desperation to nuclear power, the cost and length of construction prior to energy production is ridiculously high, in terms of both carbon emissions and the storage of highly toxic and widely-polluting waste.
Carbon-taxes and off-setting are similarly promoted with huge enthusiasm by transnational corporations, their fingers in most pies, to allow continued emissions so long as you fund someone, somewhere else, not to emit. The formula is finite of course. Once everywhere not emitting is “bought” in order to allow everywhere else to continue emitting, the truth will be out – they’re still emitting!
NET and Net-Zero will not work. Even the IPCC is clear that we’ve little chance of stopping 2 degrees temperature rise above the base – not seen in half-a-million years or more. And most projections acknowledge we’re well on our way to 3 degrees, with current emissions if not reduced at all ensuring 10 degrees in a couple of hundred years time. That’s the end of life on earth. Mars.
I repeat, these new technologies – the NET – won’t work, at least not in time. Even the economics suggests that the amount of investment needed for these new technologies, in contrast to the low cost of solar and wind power together with large reductions in energy use, is problematic. Already, the US tax-payer subsidises the oil, gas and coal industries to a tune of $15billion annually, the UK $13billion and some $60billion tax-aid is paid to prop-up the profits of the carbon-based economy worldwide. Now they’re asking for even more government hand-outs for their cosmetic “green initiatives”.
The Great Reset is a Great Lie. Yet most climate and environment non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as government departments, national and local, are adopting the Great Reset, netted hook, line and sinker. It is embedded into the core of most versions of a Green New Deal or Building Back Better. Most adoptees, at least privately, admit they’re banking on some change being better than no change and hoping that their own tenacity in continually asking for “more” will net some progress.
The pessimism of the NGOs combined with desire to protect the status quo in which they’ve prospered is entirely short-sighted. Only carbon-zero in 10 years offers any chance of any form of social stability. And anyway, to be honest, the only thing to do with a big lie is to expose it before it becomes “common sense” and impossible to budge.
Born in the Age of COVID, the Great Reset promotes the ideological principle of adaptation and adoption – supply a shot in the arm (hopefully at a handsome profit) to protect the infrastructure as it is, after which we should simply learn to live with it. We may well have to live with various mutations of Corona virus, but all the science says that the Climate will not be so accommodating.
Net-Zero will, more likely than not, Net-Nothing.