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Dear politicians, we need to talk about our social contract.

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By Wim Vermeulen

· 3 min read

Dear politicians,

We need to talk about our social contract. You know, the democratic agreement we make where we give you power, and you promise to use that power to protect and promote the greater good.

How deeply cynical it is, knowing that we have a social contract, to hear you say that you sympathise with all those who have been affected by the extreme weather conditions of the past few days, while at the same time making sweeping statements that it is time to tackle the climate crisis head-on.

For 30 years, scientists have warned you, report after report, that what we see now was about to happen. You have ignored it all.

You also know the solution. It was handed to you on a silver platter in the 2015 Paris Agreement, the plan to keep global warming below +2°C this century. To do that, we have to halve CO2 emissions by 2030 and become climate-neutral by 2050. 2020 was the year when the curve should have started to reverse. You missed that milestone. Maybe in 2021? No. You will not succeed in turning the curve this year either.

This week the EU Commission presented a plan to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. We hear you say it is all too expensive, too radical, and too fast.

You ignore the warnings, and you ignore the solution. In what way is that safeguarding the greater good? In what way is that respecting our social contract?

In 16 weeks, the COP26 will be held in Glasgow. It is the COP of the last chance. The last chance for you to take the measures necessary to implement the Paris Agreement on time and save us from the terrible and unprecedented consequences of a runaway climate.

What you decide in Glasgow will show us how honest you are when you say you have deep sympathy for those affected by the disaster of the last few weeks and how sincere your sweeping statements are about tackling the climate crisis.

And to make sure that you cannot say that you did not know, I invite you to listen to Johan Rockström, the world's most renowned climate scientist. I had the privilege of interviewing him for the documentary The Decade of Action. He explains in great detail what will happen to us if we end up in a world of +2 or 3 degrees. Would you mind listening carefully? It will only take 5 minutes of your time.

With the current measures, we are on our way to a world of +3 degrees. You have much work to do in Glasgow.

Remember the social contract we have. Remember that a contract can be broken if one of the parties does not respect it.

We are watching you.

Energy Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Energy & Sustainability writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Wim Vermeulen is the Director of Strategy and Sustainability at Bubka. He is also a Lecturer at the Solvay Business School and an international keynote speaker.

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