Everyone, thanks for a good, varied discussion. I don’t want to belabour every point that has come up along the way, but here are just a couple of observations:
I K, as someone who works with words every day, I have to congratulate you on creating a new definition of “cheerleader,” a term I would never have thought to apply to the likes of the World Bank, the IMF, the International Energy Agency, HSBC Research, Deutsche Bank, Standard & Poor’s, investment analyst Jeremy Grantham, or (on the balance of evidence) the authors of 97% of the climate science papers ever published. But there’s more. Even if there were any likelihood that the fossil-funded deniers are right and the “cheerleaders” are all wrong, the co-benefits of a low-carbon energy transition are huge: If you’ve ever brought a young child to a pediatric emergency ward with a severe asthma attack, as we’ve had to do dozens of times, you have another good reason to phase out coal plants, even if you choose to disregard the overwhelming evidence that climate change is real, accelerating, and anthropogenic…and yes, that a warming world is already a worse world. Just ask the millions of people who’ve become climate refugees in the last year.
Schalk, you’re right that the low-carbon deployment rate will have to be very fast to adhere to the 565 Gt limit, but it might not take a miracle. (Although if we could line up *that* level of cheerleading…? J ) In our research in Canada, we’ve compared the ramp-up to an 80% GHG reduction by 2050 to the acceleration in fossil fuel development that followed the Second World War. So the scale of change we need is large, but not unprecedented: At this point, what’s missing is the political will and the policy momentum, but that’s not an issue of technology or capability.