The most recent IPCC’s Synthesis Report makes painfully clear that climate change is happening, it’s almost entirely the fault of humans and limiting its impacts will require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century,
It’s long past time people demand that world powers work together to end the use of carbon based resources and move to non-carbon based energy sources NOW. Not tomorrow or in the next year or next decade.
As U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated when presenting the presenting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report: “Science has spoken.There is no ambiguity in the message, Leaders must act, time is not on our side.”
The report asserts that the world faces “severe, pervasive and irreversible” consequences if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut to zero by 2100.
Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts,” the report says, adding that some effects of climate change that have occurred already will “continue for centuries.
The Washington Post says:
The report is the distillation of a five-year effort to assess the latest evidence on climate change and its consequences, from direct atmospheric measurements of carbon dioxide to thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies. The final document to emerge from the latest of five assessments since 1990, it is intended to provide a scientific grounding for world leaders who will attempt to negotiate an international climate treaty in Paris late next year.
What’s painfully clear, however, is that few of those who voted in the mid-term elections read this report or took the demise of our first best hope, the Clean Power Plan, into consideration when they voted. That plan sets targets for 49 states to reduce carbon from their power plants by investing renewable energy and energy efficiency, cleaning up existing power plants, and switching to cleaner fuels. It is the biggest step the US has ever made to address carbon pollution and offered hope for the future. Since carbon emissions are the primary cause of climate change, reducing them is a essential. In other words, if we want to tackle global warming, it’s critical we take on the largest source of unbridled pollution.
Unfortunately for the future and those who will live to see it, the majority of voters chose to elect the GOP whose members will soon take on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and initiatives designed to help limit carbon emissions. As the New York Times reports, soon to be senate majority leader Mitch McConnell
has already vowed to fight the rules, which could curb planet-warming carbon pollution but ultimately shut down coal-fired power plants in his native Kentucky. Mr. McConnell and other Republicans are, in the meantime, stepping up their demands that the president approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry petroleum from Canadian oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Republicans don’t yet have the votes to repeal the E.P.A. regulations—but they plan to delay, defund and otherwise undermine them until they take over in January.
So the future of this planet and its youngest inhabitants are now in the hands of climate deniers and many who prefer to promote the needs of big coal and big oil the future be damned.
I likely won’t live long enough to suffer the consequences of their actions and, other than my abiding concern for others, I don’t have any children to worry about. But for the future of this planet and those whose lives will be marked by ever diminishing resources and ever more powerful storms, I hope we find a different course.