First the good news. If you read HEAT by Monbiot you will see that we presently have all the technology that we need to solve the problem. Other good news is that moving from a carbon-based to renewable economy will create a lot of jobs thus solving another problem– our economic downturn. Finally imagine how wonderful it would be to see people all over the world working together to solve a problem of this magnitude as opposed to continually waging war against each other.
However, we don’t have much time left as the following two quotes suggest:
Dr. James Hansen of NASA
“We have at most 10 years—not 10 years to decide upon action, but
10 years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse
emissions.” Since he said this in 2006 we have only 8 years by his
timetable. He has argued that the earth’s climate is nearing a crucial
tipping point that, if passed, would lead to “practically a different
Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) which won the Nobel with Gore, warns
“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the
next 2 to 3 years will determine our future. This is the defining
The political deadline for change is December, 2009 when the new UN agreement is signed in Copenhagen to succeed the Kyoto Protocols. This new agreement will take effect in late 2012. This agreement must match what the IPCC scientists are telling us to do– 25 to 40% cuts below 1990 emission levels by 2020. Many governments support 80% cuts by 2050 because it is so far out that nothing is required now. Thus the 2020 cuts are the key to advoid catastrophic change.
Secondly, there are nature’s deadline which are fast approaching. There is a scientific consensus that we are very near the point when the changes will become large and abrupt rather than gradual as they now are. One such tipping point is that the Siberian permafrost will thaw thus releasing the equivalent of over 70 years of present emissions in the form of methane gas stored beneath it. There are other tipping points. When we hit them nature will be a runaway train. The permafrost in the north as already started to thaw but we still have time to reverse this.
What to do— educate yourself, write letters and emails to politicans demanding that they pay attention to the recommendations of the IPCC scientists in their national bills and the UN negotiations, change your habits to conserve however you can, and spread the word.
Author: Jere Locke