Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Is It Unreasonable?
It's a simple question. Is climate change an existential threat?
Does anthropogenic global warming imperil the continuation of life as we know it on Earth?
C'mon people. This question is going to be decided before this century is out, possibly much sooner than that. The only thing that ignoring the question changes is the probability/certainty that it will be existential, determinative of the continuation of not just our civilization but most life on Earth. The longer we put it off, the worse our odds.
You would think that our parliaments and our legislatures would be alive with discussion and debate over this most critical of all questions. How then are we to explain the virtual silence it elicits from them?
If climate change is an existential threat, and all the science says it is, then there has to be real meaning in the silence among our political caste. They have to be avoiding the subject, collectively ducking it. How else can you reconcile a threat of this magnitude - mass extinction - with such resolve not to take action to avert it while there might, just might, still be time to pull out of this nose dive and at least achieve a somewhat survivable forced landing?
What would you think of a nanny out walking your baby in a pram who, just for a lark, decides to see if she can cross a busy highway while blindfolded? That's akin to how I feel about our political leaders beginning with the prime minister, his government and the opposition parties in Parliament, and the premiers and their legislatures across the land. It's our babies, our grandkids and great grandkids in that pram.
So, how does that leave you feeling about your government, the outfit you trust to keep you and your country safe now and into the future? Are you still left with warm, fuzzy feelings for the Liberal Party or the New Dems or the Conservatives? I'm not.
We have given them a monopoly on the power and the money to deal with our problems and nothing surely can be a greater problem than an existential threat.
How does it make you feel about the narrow, special interests who successfully importune our politicos to either go slow or perhaps simply do nothing?
I used to be "alarmed" at climate change. I used to be worried at the warnings that, if we didn't do thus and so, dire consequences might set in by the end of the century. I used to be concerned about these "tipping points," natural feedback loops, we were told might be triggered if we didn't slash our greenhouse gas emissions drastically by 2100. I used to be that way less than 20 years ago.
Yet here we are. Climate change impacts we were told could be felt by 2100 have arrived 80 years sooner than predicted. Tipping points? Nobody even talks about those any more. We got that wrong too. Those "do not exceed" points have already been tipped, loads of them. Natural feedback loops - from the early and widespread loss of Arctic sea ice, to the retreat of polar ice caps and glaciers, to the warming of the Arctic and its now energized atmosphere, to the onset of severe storm events of increasing frequency, intensity and duration, to Western wild fires that rage from Mexico all the way north into Alaska, to sea level rise and coastal inundation, to the melting of seabed methane clathrates and the thawing of onshore permafrost and the release of its once safely sequestered methane and CO2, to flash floods and the newby, flash droughts - this is nature on a rampage and we're just sitting by and watching it unfold.
It's too late for alarms. The tests have been run, we've got the lab results. We have the diagnosis. Yet we have a pretty boy prime minister who looks us straight in the eye, pisses all over our pant leg and tells us that the path to our green future lies in ramping up the extraction, processing and transmission of the most carbon-intensive and toxic ersatz petroleum on the planet. Ever ask that dummy how the first ensures the other? Ever ask that lying weasel when exactly this magic is going to happen? Ever ask him just whose interests he's protecting because it's sure as hell not yours.
Is it unreasonable to see your government as a threat, a peril to your grandkids and their children? Maybe so, provided you can put all the science, all the warnings and all the early-onset impacts we're already dealing with out of your mind. The more mindless you are the more benign they can seem. Only being mindless is not reasonable.