He's one of the greatest climate scientists of our day. Hans Joachim "Johnny" Schellnhuber has been the head of Germany's Potsdam Institute and chief climate advisor to Angela Merkel and, despite his atheism, to the Vatican.
Schellnhuber believes 2018 is the year the world finally came to grips with the reality of climate change.
“I think that in future people will look back on 2018 as the year when climate reality hit,” said the veteran scientist. “This is the moment when people start to realise that global warming is not a problem for future generations, but for us now,” said the veteran scientist and outgoing director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts.
The heatwave has dominated headlines across the northern hemisphere this summer. New temperature records have been set in Africa and cities in Australia, Taiwan, Georgia and the west coast of US. Heat stroke or forest fires have killed at least 119 in Japan, 29 in South Korea, 91 in Greece and nine in California. There have even been freak blazes in Lapland and elsewhere in the Arctic circle, while holidaymakers and locals alike have sweltered in unusually hot weather in southern Europe.
Coming amid this climate chaos, the “hothouse Earth” paper by Schellnhuber and his co-authors struck a chord with the public by spelling out the huge and growing risk that emissions are pushing the planet’s climate off the path it has been on for 2.5m years.
Schellnhuber said the paper’s release had accidentally been delayed, but the timing proved serendipitous. “It came out at a time when temperatures in Germany reached 38C so people could personally experience a heatwave. But this is just the beginning.”And now a word for Justin Trudeau and the rest of the Petro-Pimps of Parliament Hill.
Schellnhuber said he was concerned about the widening gap between scientists’ increasingly alarmed descriptions of climate destruction and leaders’ weak statements of what is politically possible.
“Politicians prefer small problems that they can solve and get credit for. They don’t like big problems that, even if they succeed, leave the rewards for their successors,” he said. “But once you pile up public pressure, politicians find it hard to avoid taking responsibility.”This business about climate change and the economy going hand in hand is nothing short of dereliction of their fundamental responsibility to the security of Canada and the wellbeing of the Canadian people. The time for purely gestural responses such as "carbon pricing" is over. The problem is here. It's immediate. It is going to get worse, a lot worse. Your pathetic carbon taxes will not make a difference.
Schellnhuber is right. The world is waking up to the terrible situation we're in. Now it's time for the Trudeau Liberals to wake up.