There is a climate catastrophe and politics is not doing enough

At the end of February, the United Nations Climate Committee sounded the alarm again. The second part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s extensive report contains exciting conclusions. The effects of climate change are much faster, more severe and more profound than projected in the previous 2021 report. In addition, human adaptation will become more difficult. That is why I prefer to talk about a climate catastrophe. We are already in the midst of the sixth mass animal death. A person can quickly follow.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that more and morecritical pointsor exceeding critical limits. This creates an irreversible chain reaction for various climate hazards. More and more scientists are indicating that even if we reduce greenhouse gas emissions at lightning speed, global warming will continue at a steady pace. (Rainforests) like the Amazon, as well as the Grand Canyon, for example, have become a net contributor to climate catastrophe, because they contain more carbon dioxide.2 It emits what it removes from the air. Or think of permafrost, which covers a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere and is melting much faster than originally thought. Not only are ancient viruses stored in the ice crust, but twice as many greenhouse gases are currently in the atmosphere. Then there are earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and massive ocean acidification.

We are in a pressure suit.

However, there is no difficult work. Most climate plans focus primarily on economic (and political) self-preservation. A report from the United Nations Environment Agency and the United Nations Environment Program as of 2021 shows that most countries will produce twice as much fossil energy by 2030 than agreed in the Paris Agreement. If the war in Ukraine has taught us anything, it is how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels is. However, we continue to stick. According to calculations from the same UNEP report, global gas and oil production will increase over the next 20 years and coal production will decline only slightly.

Vast soybean fields

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has accused world powers of displaying a “criminal lack of leadership”. This certainly applies to the Dutch government, which is not only doing so little, but is directly contributing to the climate catastrophe. For example, the Dutch government negotiated with Brazil on behalf of 59 Dutch companies the construction of the “Centro-Norte Corredor”, in which part of the Amazon was cut down to build large-scale soybean fields, and thousands of kilometers of railways, roads and three ports. Soybeans are exported as animal feed to countries such as the Netherlands.

Climate disaster isn’t just about carbon dioxide2 Atmospheric or melting ice caps. as a reporter for green Amsterdam Traveling around the world for eleven years, I have seen the direct impact of the climate catastrophe and its consequent poverty, hunger, wars over resources, natural disasters and the destruction of the earth. Climate is a complex political issue that ultimately affects everyone – but not everyone to the same extent. In the Netherlands, however, the conversation does not go far beyond aversion to windmills, acknowledgment of flying shame, an ode to the best vegan burger, and anger at right-wing parties. We refuse to assume real responsibility or face our global role.

This is not the question orBut how hard it is Our country will be affected and whether the Netherlands will remain livable in the (near) future. Sea level rise and temperature are accelerating. For example, KNMI now assumes a sea level rise of 1.2 meters by the end of the century, but this could also be 2 metres. According to research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1.5 degrees of warming could be reached as early as 2025.

The probability of a flood disaster is increasing day by day. According to figures from the Dutch government, 59 percent of our total land area is at risk of flooding, due to sea and river waters. This percentage depends on the current sea level, while our soils continue to settle and the chance of severe rains and storms increases. In Europe, the risk of a natural disaster is greater in the Netherlands, according to the United Nations’ Global Risks Report. It is naive to think that we can quietly watch the rise and continue to raise the levee layer. History teaches us that flood disasters in the Netherlands have always been the result of a sudden stormy night. The flood is coming and we are not ready for it.

Read also: Who does the best environment really start with?

Focus on electric driving

The climate proposals in the new coalition agreement are merely compensation for the delayed maintenance after the courts have repeatedly forced the government to take action. CO “Long Range”2The cut is nothing more than following the deals in the Green Deal, the European Union’s climate pacts that the Netherlands initially considered too ambitious.

The Dutch government emphasizes electric driving and sustainable energy sources. With major interventions such as building nuclear power plants, the cabinet has only one goal in mind: keeping the economy running at all costs through temporary hasty gimmicks that put greenhouse gas emissions on paper.

Dutch policy also increases ‘climate injustice’. This is the phenomenon whereby the less fortunate are affected by the climate catastrophe (because they live in the most polluted and most vulnerable regions) and at the same time bear the costs of energy transmission, without benefiting from it themselves. We see this reflected outside and inside borders. Congo and Zambia supply cobalt to our electric cars under appalling working conditions, while part of the population there doesn’t even have electricity. An average family in Schilderswijk in The Hague doesn’t have their own roof to fill in for solar panels, but they do make a villa in Wassenaar more sustainable through the high energy bill of their poorly insulated rental house.

The more money involved in climate and sustainability, the more investors and entrepreneurs will want to make profits. This leads to a focus on technological innovation, thinking in terms of economies of scale and orientation towards the interesting special benefits of sustainability. Climate and sustainability policy seems to be a white left-wing pastime in which the white right takes advantage of the Netherlands. The current climate story only applies to the wealthy citizen who, due to high gas prices, buys a heat pump anyway, buys a Tesla because the neighbor who drives it finds it interesting to invest in a local wind farm — as long as that isn’t possible. t spoil his mind.

For the majority of Dutch people of every colour, orientation, gender, fitness, education and origin, the inevitable big investments will bring no financial benefit. They pay the bill, and do it twice. First by paying for the massive energy transition, and second by losing everything later because it turned out to be too little and too late.

Great and painful sacrifices

The impending climate catastrophe demands quick, big, drastic choices – for those who don’t exist anymore. Not to prevent disaster, but to deal with it as best as possible and survive with as many people and animals as possible. This requires a great deal of political determination and social support. We will collectively have to make great and painful sacrifices, and share the bill fairly. The government avoids this talk. So it’s time for an inclusive climate debate in which all the voices are heard and the different problems are linked: from sea water levels to air quality and food supply.

Climate and sustainability are politics. They touch upon the greatest challenges of our time. But at the moment, no political party dares to make the necessary proposals – let alone implement them. That is why I am calling for the formation of a National Climate Action Committee. This must consist of an interdisciplinary and intersecting reflection of society (people who move at the intersection of multiple identities): scholars, administrators, entrepreneurs, activists, medical workers, psychiatric care providers, lawyers, farmers, financial experts, religious and philosophical leaders, artists, students and disciples Schools, police, firefighters, military, journalists, teachers, animals, conservationists, concerned citizens, advocacy groups and representatives of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with disabilities, young children, the homeless, refugees and undocumented immigrants.

The selection will be partly by lottery and partly by election. The term of office will be three years, with the possibility of a one-time extension for a third of the participants if a majority can be found. In this way a certain continuity can be ensured and the permanent participants can learn about new growth.

Climate and sustainability policy seems to be a white left-wing pastime in which the white right takes advantage of the Netherlands

The working committee will be divided into different working groups focusing on food supply, housing, air quality, transportation, care, education, nature conservation, water supply and quality of life. At the national level, you will work closely with ministries, business and civil society. At the international level, the Task Force maintains links with similar (civil) initiatives, various international NGOs, and major international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

The National Climate Action Committee overrides government and political parties and issues binding advice. It operates transparently and reports directly to the population. It is up to this independent advisory body to reorganize our country and draw a new map of the Netherlands, and to make proposals on which areas we should return to the waters. It will also devise concrete (emergency) measures and interventions to ensure the general quality of life as far as possible. All this is spelled out in the “National Climate Action Plan”, in which the necessary implementation, financing and social policy are also drawn up.

Only in this way can the current political deadlock be broken and big steps taken quickly. The time for populist debates about wind farms is over. This is about our continued existence as human beings and as a country beyond dams.

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