Changes in Climate – Not What You Think

Written by: Terry Link

Primary Source: Possibilitator

One of the most senior figures in the UK’s environmental movement of recent decades, Jonathon Porritt, recently made the statement that it is now impossible for the large fossil fuel companies of today to adapt in “a timely and intelligent way to the imperative of radical decarbonization.”

 CleanTechnica logo
So begins a recent article in Clean Technica which calls itself  the #1 clean-tech website in the world. After many years of building relationships with leading corporations in the UK towards sustainable development,
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Porritt, a leading figure globally in transitioning business towards triple bottom line outcomes has thrown in the towel with BP and Shell. Forum for the Future, the organization he founded in 1996 and has led since that time, with side adventures as Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission between 2000 and 2009 and he became Chancellor of Keele University in 2012.

In an article in last week’s Guardian newspaper, Porritt  discusses his valiant efforts to work with the big oil firms for almost two decades, but concludes with.

“This has been quite a painful journey for me personally. I so badly wanted to believe that the combination of reason, rigorous science and good people would enable elegant transition strategies to emerge in those companies. But we learn as we go. And go those companies surely will, if not in the near future.”

The tension has been mounting between the fossil fuel companies and environmentalists as the science continues to show the multiple deleterious effects of the industry. For a clear example, the CleanTechnica article above, which builds on Porritt’s Guardian piece, notes the report in Science last week that shows 4 of 9 boundaries for life on the planet have been compromised.

We also learned last week that 2014 was the warmest year on record. Porritt’s decision to thrown in the towel with the oil giants is not for having tried. But he found their wanton disregard for the community of life impossible to rationalize.

“And these are companies whose senior managers know, as an irrefutable fact, that their current business model threatens both the stability of the global economy and the longer-term prospects of humankind as a whole. Once knowledge of that kind has been internalised, for any individual, however well-meaning and ‘sincere’ they may be, it must get harder and harder to look oneself in the mirror every morning and feel anything other than moral regret”.

Maybe with this knowledge more broadly understood folks will understand the importance of the divestment in fossil fuels.

February 13 and 14 have been called Global Divestment Day . It’s not too late to get involved.

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Terry Link
Terry Link is a retired MSU librarian, former founding director of the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability, and co-founder and former chair of the American Library Association’s Task Force on the Environment. He recently served as associate editor for the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices(Gale/Cengage 2014). He has also served as executive director of a regional food bank and as a county commissioner. Currently he is president of Starting Now, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm, a Senior Fellow for the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and serves on numerous non-profit organization boards.
Terry Link

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