Avoiding our ghastly future – the power of collective action

In an unusually blunt assessment, a group of scientists early this year warned of the catastrophic consequences of climate change. Their paper, “Underestimating the Challenge of Avoiding a Ghastly Future”, published last month, presented ample evidence that our environmental conditions are much more dangerous than commonly believed. Almost as dangerous is the chronic underestimating of the perils of climate change by leaders and governments, leading to the failures to achieve the already established sustainable development goals. The Paris Agreement adopted at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015 set the 1.5–2 degrees Celsius target to avoid dangerous climate change. However, without huge additional commitments, global warming is expected to reach 2.6–3.1 degrees by 2100, even if present commitments are achieved – an impending catastrophe for biodiversity and humanity.

Protecting nature together through ‘net zero’ action

On April 20, Emil Salim, the first Indonesian environment minister, provoked much discussion at the Indonesia Net Zero Summit 2021 when he insisted that instead of net zero, Indonesia should aim for net minus carbon emissions by 2050. He was responding to the presentation of National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa, who had mapped out alternative scenarios in which Indonesia could reach net zero by the years 2045, 2050, 2060 and 2070. Notwithstanding the March 2021 Environment and Forestry Ministry announcement that Indonesia would reach net zero by 2070, as the Net Zero Summit indicated, the debate on net zero in Indonesia continues.