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NETZERO is impeding progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals - Highlighted Article

Posted On:
Dec 28, 2023 at 6:00 AM
Energy Policy, Climate Change


From: Climate Etc.

By: Judith Curry

Date: December 5, 2023


NETZERO is impeding progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals


“Working in global energy and development, I often hear people say, 'Because of climate, we just can't afford for everyone to live our lifestyles.' That viewpoint is worse than patronizing. It’s a form of racism, and it’s creating a two-tier global energy system, with energy abundance for the rich and tiny solar lamps for Africans.” – Kenyan activist and materials scientist Rose Mutiso

“To deny the developing world access to the very infrastructure that has propelled us forward, all in the name of an uncertain future, is not environmentalism, but neocolonialism masquerading as virtue.” – Earth Scientist Matthew Wielicki

100 years ago, the global population was 2 billion.  Over the past century, the population has increased to 8 billion, life expectancy has more than doubled, a much smaller percent of the global population is living in poverty, global wealth has increased by a factor of 20, agricultural productivity and yields have increased substantially, and a far smaller fraction of the population die from extreme weather and climate events.  Hannah Ritchie’s provides fascinating data on global progress.

And all this has occurred during a period where the global temperatures have increased by about 1ºC.  The UN has dropped the extreme emissions scenarios (RCP8.5 and SSP5-8.5) from use in policy making, and the UNFCCC COP27 worked from an estimated 2100 warming of 2.5ºC.[1] The 2023 IEA Roadmap to NetZero Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS) projects a rise in average global temperature of 2.4ºC by 2100.[2] When plausible scenarios of natural climate variability and values of climate sensitivity on the lower end of the IPCC range are accounted for, the expected warming could be significantly lower.

So our current best estimates of global warming by 2100 indicate that we will likely be close to, or within, the 2ºC target by 2100, based on our current understanding.   So we are looking at an additional 0.8 to 1.2ºC warming over the remainder of the 21st century, according to our current understanding.  Natural climate variability is of course a wild card that can cut both ways, but the portion of the 21st century warming that the UN is hoping to control is order of 1ºC.

The world has already shown that it can thrive under a warming rate of 1oC/century.  To support continued human development and progress in the 21st century, there is widespread international agreement on the UNSDG Sustainable Development Goals, which provides a ranked list of 17 goals.[3]  The goals related to climate and energy policy include (with numerical ranking): (continue reading)


NETZERO is impeding progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals