The theory was that oil would peak by 2014 and renewables come into their own, thus saving the world from global warming. It was a myth. More oil has been discovered in the US in the last two years than there is in Saudi Arabia. The oil companies already have 2795 gigatonnes in reserve, several times more than the 565 – 1000 gigatonnes most scientists think we can safely burn if we are to avoid 4 or more degrees of global warming. Even worse, much of that reserve has already been traded on the futures markets. To leave it in the ground would cause a financial meltdown.
We must hope that the climate sceptics are right. But the vast majority of the scientists don’t think they are. Most official scientific bodies in the world support the IPCC forecast that global temperature could rise between 2 and 6 degrees. We could be on course for at least 4 degrees, which would be an unthinkably terrible world for our children. The picture painted by Mark Lynas in Our Future on a Hotter Planet – he claims to base his book on 7000 scientific papers – is horrifying.
Fed up with laying on science lectures to which nobody came Rossendale Climate Change Group started a non-profit making business (important, we don’t want to be seen as making money out of this) selling pants and socks called Pantisocracy. The word was invented by Coleridge and, roughly speaking, means a fair world for all. Every garment has a tag attached saying ‘Await the great climate catastrophe in our pants and socks. Or still better let’s do something about it’. But of course the pants and socks are entirely marginal. Our real aim is to get local Pantisocracy groups going to raise awareness of the possible appalling danger, if most of the scientists are right, that we, and still more our children, could be in. We need to think much more carefully than most people are doing as to whether we have to leave that oil in the ground. How can we, for our children’s sake, take the risk that so many scientists are wrong, even if they turn out to be? We have to put all our effort into neutralizing carbon emissions and switching our energy base, and now we have very little time left. Given the complacency of the public, the world’s insatiable thirst for oil and all those gigatonnes already traded the task is monumentally daunting.
You don’t have to be divinely inspired to foresee that a future world of 9 billion people by 2050, huge species loss, floods, droughts, increasing food and water shortages and decreasing employment because of automation, and all this in a world well furnished with nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction, will not be an easy one. Climate change is not all bad news though. We already have the technology to deal with it Changing our energy base would be so radical it really would give us an opportunity to create a new world – a fair world for all. The idea of Pantisocracy is to adopt the kind of life style we need to do and to spread awareness, but above all to think positively. Not just to try to save ourselves but to cherish all persons and all creatures. This is the most dangerous time there has ever been to be alive, But also the most inspiring. If you see the point, would you like to start a Pantisocracy group with your friends? For more information go to www.thomj.co.uk and click Pantisocracy.