[Coral-List] carbon offsetting AND the need for innovative problem solvers to halt climate change

Franziska Elmer franziskaelmer at hotmail.com
Fri May 17 23:05:46 UTC 2019

Dear Steve and coral list,

Your post addressed the root of why I  started this thread on coral list. We as a community who will be deeply impacted by climate change have to start to do more to collectively and actively ask our governments for action. And our ICRS conference is a very powerful (but not the only one) forum which we can use for this.

I have no idea how much impact our previous consensus statements had. Did they lead to any change? Or to conversations? Nevertheless, I am pretty sure that the message from our next statement has to be stronger if we want our governments to act as fast as they need to.

Getting Greta Thunberg as a keynote speaker would be awesome and greatly enhance the message coming from us. But anyone who has followed her knows: the speeches she gives are given to audiences that she thinks are not doing enough for climate justice. I am sure she would love to change it up and give a talk to an audience who did make a difference. But if we want her as speaker that applauds our effort and encourage us to keep going, we have to make a difference that counts in her eyes. Otherwise the headline will be "Greta Thunberg tells coral scientists in her keynote speech to stop emitting massive amounts of carbon". I can only speculate on what she considers a change that is worth applauding. I think we would have to reduce (rather than offset) a large part of our carbon emissions, as her main demand to us adults is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Our goal is to stay under 1.5C warming, this is predicted to be reached in 15.5 years ( https://climateclock.net/ ) . If we plan to not overshoot 1.5C, we would need to reach net zero emissions by 2035. If we were to decrease our emissions linearly, then every year the world would need to reduce emissions by about 6.7% of our emission in  2019. This is a  higher reduction than what the IPCC suggested  who wants us to reduce emission by a total of 45% by 2030 (3.75% a year) and reach 1.5 C warming with some overshoot. If we consider having Greta Thunberg as keynote speaker, then I think we need to reduce emissions of the conference by at least 3.75-6.7%  to show that we are doing our part to reach 1.5C. Or we should at least try hard to do so and fail due to constrains in our society. And then we can of course offset the rest of our emissions. The ICRS organizers wrote me an email 2 days ago with their plans for Bremen 2020, it will be a net zero emissions conference and they have several ideas planned to reach this. I am waiting for their reply to whether they want me to share their email with coral list or write their own post regarding this. They have not shared with me which percentage of carbon emissions they plan to reduced rather than offset, but it would interesting to know their plans regarding this.

Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I believe that if we want to have our collective voices be heard loudly, we have to not only craft a good statement but also act according to it. In my eyes, ticking at least a few boxes on those lists of what individuals can do is necessary to show our commitment when asking for change.  This will show the urgency of the situation, our commitment to a solution, the possibility to make drastic changes and will hopefully show the youth which demands actions from us adults that we are listening and acting, making us a true ally of their cause.

But as Steve said, putting time and energy into collectivly asking for change from our governments is what really matters. So let's tick the boxes that are easy to tick off, that have fun alternatives or alternatives that are highly visible. And simultaneously work on our collaborative statements and actions that will inspire change. 


Sent from my Cat® rugged phone.

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