Monday, June 13, 2016

Seventeen Decades of Climate Inaction

It has been almost 170 years since we first heard about climate change and we have still not come close to doing what we must do in order to avert a global disaster of unprecedented proportions. We have known for decades that greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of climate change.

In pre-industrial times levels of CO2 were around 280 parts per million. As emission levels surpass 400 ppm for the first time in many millions of years we can expect a wide range of devastating consequences.

Entrenched interests in both the private sector and political circles succeeded in interjecting doubt about the veracity of climate science. Their clever maneuvers now threatens human civilization and many life forms that live on this planet. The human race may be beginning to realize just how serious these threats are.

For decades people have raped the planet while sabotaging efforts to inform the world about the climate crisis. As Naomi Klein says in her book, This Changes Everything:

"The alarm bells of the climate crisis have been ringing in our ears for years and are getting louder all the time - yet humanity has failed to change course. What is wrong with us?"

One of the first references to climate change came in an 1847 speech made by US congressman George Perkins Marsh who warned the American people about global warming and the dangers associated with mismanagement of natural resources,

More than a century later U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson warned us about the dangers of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. Scientists now warn us of an impending apocalypse and some even worry that it may already be too late. As we dither we are at risk of triggering tipping points that no amount of mitigation will be able to address.

Will history record that we failed to heed the scientific warnings or will we finally rise to the challenge at the 11th hour?

No comments: