We need a manifesto to explain what it is we want. A short text which can be endorsed by individuals, organisations and bodies, as well as governments at all levels. Below are some ideas to what such a manifest could contain.
Most Carbon Freedom Manifestos that have been suggested so far contain two or three of these fundamental demands:
1) Coal, gas and oil must stay in the ground
All public investment in and all subsidies to fossil fuel projects must end immediately.
2) The real cost of carbon emissions must be paid by those who burn the fossil fuels
Polluting the atmosphere has huge impacts on societies and it simply can’t be free to flood the atmosphere with carbon any longer.
3) Invest in renewables
Massive ‘Marchall-plan-like’ public subsidies and private investments must be directed to developing, producing and enhancing renewables as well as energy saving technologies.
Ad 1) Numerous campaigns for this are already well in place and running, but they are badly co-ordinated and there is much too little co-operation and collaboration between the many organisations which work for the same goal.
Ad 2) The huge long-term expenses on climate related problems caused by the burning of coal, gas and oil should be reflected in the price which industries and consumers are paying for it. This will enable national and local governments to deal with the problems of climate change as well as to speed up the transition to renewable energy sources.
Those governments which already have put a price on carbon emissions must form a ‘carbon tax club’ or ‘carbon cartel’ to strengthen their position, consolidate the concept internationally, as well as to put pressure on irresponsible governments which have not yet understood why the implementation of carbon regulations is urgent for humanity as a whole. This doesn’t have to go through the United Nations whose ability to create any real action on this issue is being obstructed by a minority of nations which benefit from fossil fuel production.
Ad 3) This must be followed up by government-funded information campaigns on how to reduce one’s carbon footprint, whether you are an individual, an organsation, a company or an official body, and it should include government directions to public broadcasters about their obligation to follow up on and support this.
Suzuki’s Carbon Manifesto
We can take inspiration from environmentalist David Suzuki’s ‘Carbon Manifesto’, which he wrote for Canadians, but which – slightly altered for a global reach – could look something like this:
1. Fossil fuels as our primary energy source are over. Within a generation they must stay in the ground. That means exploration and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry end now.
2. Save the Earth’s largest carbon sinks: forest and our oceans must be protected.
3. 70 percent of our energy must be renewable energy within one generation.
4. A carbon tax of $150 per tonne starts now.
5. Climate scientists must be able to share their findings uncensored and unimpeded by political and corporate interests.
David Suzuki’s Manifesto Pledge
“Human beings have become so powerful that we are altering the biological, chemical and physical properties of the planet on a geological scale. We must look to the future, and science rather than politics or economics must be our guide.
I know our dependence on fossil fuels must end.
I know it will take massive change for us as a species to survive let alone thrive in the converging global crisis around climate, food, water, fuel and the economy.
I pledge to stop the epidemic of blame around the climate crisis and recognize my own responsibility.
The way I live my life is part of the problem.
I believe we need a new vision for our future as [Canadians/Americans/Australians/etc] and as humans.
I pledge that I am ready to implement change. I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
I stand with the Carbon Manifesto. This is our way forward.”
» Read more about David Suzuki’s Carbon Manifesto
THE ENERGY REALITY PLEDGE
“Energy is at the heart of the human predicament in the 21st century. The ecological and economic costs of non-renewable (and disappearing) fossil fuels are rising rapidly, and dragging down our economy. In every sense of the word, this is unsustainable. It’s time to remake our energy economy under different terms. Join the rest of us who are ready to create our own energy future that doesn’t destroy the planet… just to keep the lights on.”
“Pledge: I’m ready for an energy reality that:
• Prioritizes reducing overall demand for energy through efficiency and curtailment.
• Treats fossil fuels like the valuable, limited resources they are.
• Shifts from centralized non-renewable energy supplied by unaccountable multinationals to decentralized renewable energy produced by communities.
• Minimizes the environmental and social impacts of this transition.”
» Take the pledge: www.energy-reality.org/art/pledge
Australians for Climate Action
In an open letter to the Australian government, the organisation GetUp asks for stronger, meaningful climate action with these three demands:
• Cutting Australia’s pollution by at least 30 percent by 2020
• Moving Australia beyond coal and gas towards renewable energy, using a Renewable Energy Target
• Putting a price and limit on carbon emissions
» Read more and sign the letter on: www.australiansforaction.org.au