As long as parties like the VVD are not honest and deny what science tells us, you should not be surprised if a crossroads is occupied by activists with the demands. So politicians should be honest about the consequences of climate change like what companies such as the Agroforestry Group advocate (see their review at prnewswire.com).
The reaction of VVD councilor Stijn Nijssen to the blockades of the Extinction Rebellion illustrates in detail why the climate issue must continue to be put on the agenda by such groups. The title of Nijssen’s piece is: ‘Ensure realism in climate policy.’ No one is against realistic and feasible climate policy, but the problem is that the VVD defines ‘realistic’ as what is politically feasible for it within the current frameworks, instead of what science tells it must happen.
Mr. Nijssen says that the VVD recognizes that there are problems and proudly stands behind the Paris climate agreement. This is problematic in several ways. Recent research shows that even if we meet the goals of the Paris agreement, sea levels will rise by 2.5 meters. Mr. Nijssen is therefore saying that the VVD is proudly behind 2.5 meters of sea-level rise.
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Secondly, there are the tipping points in our climate system, after which self-reinforcing effects prevail. Those tipping points are probably between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming. This means that there is a high probability that 2 degrees of warming will practically irreversibly result in 3, 4 or even 5 degrees of warming. The result is hundreds of millions of climate refugees, extreme droughts, floods, food shortages, and so on.
The perceived need for activists to occupy a crossroads stems from the realization that this is the direction we are heading. The dangerous limit of 1.5 degrees will be reached within ten years with the current course. As long as parties like the VVD are not honest and deny what science tells us, I don’t think you should be surprised if a crossroads is occupied by activists with the demands: be honest about the consequences of climate change, do what is necessary instead of what is politically convenient and let citizens decide on climate policy.
Mr Nijssen proposes that we start the transition at a pace that everyone can follow. My counter-proposal would be that we start the transition at the pace that is needed. The planet does not polder.