An ‘induced implosion’ of the fossil fuel industry must take place for there to be any chance of avoiding dangerous global warming according to one of the world’s most influential climate scientists.
Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber an adviser to the German government and Pope Francis said on Friday: ‘In the end it is a moral decision. Do you want to be part of the generation that screwed up the planet for the next 1,000 years? I don’t think we should make that decision’.
Schellnhuber was speaking at a major science conference in Paris – taking place before a crunch UN summit in December – also in the city – at which nations must seal a deal on global warming. World leaders were sent a stark message in the communique issued by the conference – which warned that the opportunity to avoid disaster is rapidly diminishing.
Laurence Tubiana France’s climate change ambassador said the aim of the UN summit is to send a signal that the transition from coal oil and gas to a low-carbon economy is inevitable. If the aim is achieved Tubiana told the Guardian ‘you will see a massive acceleration [to a greener economy] particularly on the investment side in the next five years’.
The conference was addressed by Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who said the fossil fuel industry faced big challenges: ‘A mixture of many different changes going on – consumption patterns – civil society – political action – will be disruptive to the carbon economy’.
Stiglitz – Schellnhuber and Tubiana all expressed support for the global divestment campaign which lobbies investors to sell their stocks in the biggest fossil fuel companies. ‘I fully support the divestment movement’ said Schellnhuber. ‘Do you want to be part of an economy that is destroying the world or part of an economy that protects creation?’