I have made an absolute Cassandra of myself writing about climate change for the past dozen years on this blog. Which is why the only surprise in Monday's jarring report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that it took so many by surprise.
I knew as soon as I scanned the summary that the report, while seemingly dire, didn't tell the complete story. Stuff, important stuff, was simply left out. They skirted the predictable consequences we'll see over the next twenty years. A lot of it has already begun to appear. Worst of all, they only dealt with man-made greenhouse gas emissions and gave a pass to something that could be far more destructive, natural feedback mechanisms that we have already triggered, the so called "tipping points" of runaway global warming.
The IPCC gave a pretty clear prescription. If we're to have a chance of avoiding the worst, we - our governments, our corporate giants, you and me - must slash our emissions by 45% within the next 12 years. That's 45% by 2030.
45% by 2030. It sounds straightforward enough yet it provides ample wiggle room for say anything/do nothing governments like our own to stay their high-carbon course.
For me, the most helpful comment was a remark by climate scientist, Kate Marvel, of the NASA Goddard Space Laboratory, who said:
The only thing humans can do is decide how many lives, homes, and species they’re willing to lose due to climate change—how long they’re willing to allow their respective governments to stall on what we know to be technically achievable.It comes down to you. How long are you willing to allow your government to stall on what we know to be technically achievable? How long are you willing to allow our Liberal government or a future Conservative government to stall on what is already achievable?
You have to decide, as Kate Marvel puts it, how many lives, homes and species you're willing to lose to climate change.
If you're going to support the establishment parties, both of which support the madness of a 50 year pipeline to flood world markets with low value, filthy, high-carbon bitumen, then you've made your decision on climate change.