WORLD CONTRACT ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE TO ERADICATE POVERTY AND STOP CLIMATE CHANGE
A different world is solar, a solar world is possible:
The development towards which we have been oriented so far is unsustainable from an environmental, social and economic point of view. A different world is possible if peoples’ action will be able to build another energy model. This shall be moderate, fair and democratic, not fed by fossil fuels or nuclear anymore, but rather based on energy saving and on the distributed and sustainable use of renewable resources such as sun, wind, biomass, geothermal, mini-hydro, tidal. The transition to a “light” economy requires a dual strategy in the use of energy resources: the rethinking of the means (efficiency) and a careful moderation of the ends (sufficiency).
Phase out fossil fuels is necessary because:
they are non renewable energy sources doomed to a rapid exhaustion. The main multinational oil companies forecast that from 2020 oil supply will not be sufficient to meet the growth in demand. The same phenomenon is inevitably going to occur for natural gas a decade later, in the best of hypothesis. Coal, the worst option from a climate point of view, due to its high carbon content, could last another 300 years at current consumption rates (if it would become the main energy sources it would exhaust in less than 50 years).
using them is increasingly expensive, not just because there is continuously growing demand versus fewer available resources, but also because the costs of extraction (deeper wells and more difficult to access), transport and of the externalities (environmental, climate and public health impacts) are growing higher.
their combustion causes heavy alterations of the atmosphere.
For this reason they are the cause of: wars to control and exploit the remaining ores and fields; disastrous climate change, especially for the poorer countries, less responsible and less able to defend themselves; increasing pollution of the common goods, air, water and soil; poverty, a condition in which a large part of the humanity is forced by the wasteful use of oil, coal and methane made by the planet’s rich minority (20%), which pretends to keep on doing so.
Phase out fossil fuels reviving nuclear is unrealistic and must be excluded. Nuclear must be abandoned because:
Uranium is neither a renewable nor a sustainable resource
It entails serious security risks and an enormous environmental impact linked to the production of radioactive waste, which inevitably accumulates in the ecosystem and will burden on the future generations for thousands of years
It exposes the world to the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism;
It is unable to solve the energy and climate change problems. Uranium resources are not sufficient to hope for an increase in installed capacity in order to cover a significant quota of the new energy demand, and in fact it is unavoidable that the programmes for super fast reactors have failed so far, and that fusion is not part of the practicable options.
It has too high direct and indirect costs, which are imposed on the society
It entails a centralised generation model, based on large power plants, highly questionable from a security and the right to energy point of view. A model that requires monopolistic, authoritarian and antidemocratic management systems.
Only by producing electricity and heath with solar resources and using the energy produced rationally, efficiently and with a sense of the limit, it is possible to:
guarantee energy for all and thus tackle poverty and underdevelopment;
stop climate change and air pollution
favour democracy and participation, because renewable energy sources are widely available and cannot be monopolised, unlike oil, coal, methane and nuclear.
The contract commits its signatories to:
Act for a deeper reform of the rules and of the dominant economics thinking, in order to abandon the illusionary free trade dogma of continuous economic growth (blatantly conflicting with the fundamental principles of physics and of the ecosystem). Act to transform the respect for the constraints posed by the physical world, by nature and by the coexistence between peoples, into an opportunity for economic development and employment growth. A reform of the fiscal and tariff systems is necessary, starting from the removal of the perverse incentives granted to increase energy consumption and from the tax abatement for energy produced from renewable sources. Such a reform would considerably relieve the burden from the world of labour and shift the weight of revenue and welfare spending onto those who cause irreversible damages to the community, in particular on pollution and on non-renewable energy consumption.
Produce actions that guarantee access to energy for every one. In particular:
Balancing the energy consumption between the rich part of the planet, which must consume less, and the poor part, where the right to adequate energy services must be guaranteed. Reduce consumption patterns without falling back into poverty is possible, if we switch from today’s dissipative model to energy uses, more intelligent, efficient and conscious of the physical and ecological limits of the planet. Induce new energy consumption to justify the need for increased supply is useless, costly and detrimental. We need regulations, normative choices and investments in technologies that guarantee energy services (heath, cool and lighting, industrial production, transport) with a minor use of primary energy (the best kwh is the one not produced). It is possible to guarantee development to those without it, limiting the environmental impact, and avoiding going after the polluting, irresponsible and fatal model of the richer countries.
Adopting legislation and fiscal and tariff systems that remove the barriers to an efficient and rational energy use.
Abolishing market distortions and any incentive in favour of nuclear energy, combustion of fossil fuels and waste, and diffusing systems for the promotion of clean renewable energy sources (providing incentives, differentiated by source, to the quantity produced, like for example the German feed-in tariff system).
Promoting educational initiatives necessary for the adoption of the principles of sufficiency in the demand for energy services and of efficiency in their delivery and useful in particular for the diffusion of the knowledge to plan, produce and manage the technologies that exploit renewable sources.
Guaranteeing the diffusion of technologies that enable the exploitation of renewable resources and the rational and efficient use of energy, through the creation of a specific United Nations agency.
Promote a distributed, participated and democratic energy model governed by plans and regulations established by public authorities. Such a model would make energy not a commodity but rather a right and a common good, entrusting the citizens of a territory with the right to choose if and how they would use the energy resources available on their land.
Promote a new model of mobility for both people and goods, guaranteeing in the first place the right to move to everyone, as a service based on needs. A more collective and multi-modal transport needs to be developed, including reduced consumption of land and energy resources, and minimal polluting and climate change emissions. A model linked to the concept of what is reachable, that favours walking, cycling, public transport, that frees ground and reclaims it to life in common. The diffusion of such a model must be realised by planning:
a reduction of the needs for mobility and of irrational travel, (less movements with motoring vehicles and increased use of feet and muscles to move about);
infrastructures choices for public transport on rail and sea;
innovations in individual transport means (reduction of weight and speed, with moderate acceleration) and in the fuelling systems (hybrid and totally electrical models) and in the fuels (biofuels and green hydrogen produced from renewables).
Produce actions and stimulate conflicts to guarantee the fulfilment of the Kyoto Protocol objectives (contrasting a programmatic recourse to emission trading) and at the same time create the conditions for a new protocol that commits Governments, as requested by the scientific community, to an 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
The strategic objective we pursue with this contract, based on articulated and differentiated actions between rich and poor countries, is that per capita energy consumption shall not exceed one toe/year by 2050.