A little bit of fear is galvanizing; a lot of fear is paralyzing. That’s pretty much my mantra whenever I think about climate change issues, but there are moments where I do feel like I’m going over the edge. And the recent UN report on climate change is not helping my condition right now.
For one, this report is laying out the hard facts- we already know- about how we are seeing with each year, each month, and each day that goes by, the window of opportunity is shrinking to curb the worst trajectory and the worst effects of climate change. We all know we’re way past the return to the hopeful 350 ppm that gave my blog its name; this report is dealing with the very real possibility of 450, even 550 ppm that we are facing on our current path. At that rate, the likelihood of our causing irriversably enormous and real impacts on our agricultural systems, our ecosystems, and our oceans is a virtual certainty.
But wait, there’s more: this report is actually talking about how “governments may have to find ways to artificially suck greenhouse gases from the air if they fail to make deep cuts in rising emissions by 2030”?! Folks, this is beyond geo-engineering to counteract emissions effects (which is questionable enough); this is talking about the actual need to physically remove GHGs from the atmosphere?? Can anyone imagine how far beyond the “less than 4% of GDP” the report suggests is needed to keep our emissions under 450ppm this step would take us? And the insanity of it? Rather than finding a way to secure a path towards energy independence and sustainability, we might really, actually be considering creating GIANT VACUUMS to suck up greenhouse gas? It all feels a bit too Orwellian for my taste.
So, please, panic a little. Because we need to galvanize. NOW.