Saturday, December 15, 2018
What Country Poses the Gravest Threat to Canada?
Washington has pretty much derailed the fight to tame climate change. It began when Trump took the US out of the Paris climate pact, a move that encouraged others, such as Russia and Australia, to follow suit. The consensus is in tatters.
I think before long we'll look at 2018 as a turning point in how the world lost the fight against climate change. Look what what's coming out of the Katowice climate summit - precious little. A rule book on how nations are to report their greenhouse gas emissions that comes into effect in 2020. That's it. A rule book. 2020.
To put that in perspective, the world is on notice that we must slash fossil energy emissions by half by 2030. It initially was set at 45 per cent but emissions have begun increasing again over the past two years. We're heading in the wrong direction - fast. A rule book governing emissions reporting is a far cry from the Herculean chore of radically slashing emissions in an astonishingly short window.
Trump has made our slim chance of meeting these severe emissions cuts far worse by gutting environmental regulations; promoting the gamut of fossil fuels including coal; giving "moral cover" to other leaders intent on a high carbon future; and "souring goodwill" between the have and have-not nations and reneging on America's $2 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund.
In my previous post there was a look at all the measures we must take, not just fighting climate change, if human civilization is to continue. The chief of the Potsdam Institute, Johan Rockstrom, details nine planetary boundaries we must heed before we'll have any hope of succeeding on climate change. The hard truth is that we're already out of bounds on a few of them and they're critical to the wellbeing of today's young and the generations that will follow them. There's not much point in struggling with climate change if we don't deal with the rapid loss of biodiversity, the growing challenge of ocean acidification, our exhaustion of the world's farmland and our deepening contamination of our already inadequate freshwater resources. By the way, that's not an exhaustive list. In effect we're struggling to find the political will to put out the grease fire in the kitchen while doing nothing as flames consume the rest of the house.
Trump simply doesn't care about any of this. Not his problem. His crass response to the 1,600 page National Climate Assessment produced by hundreds of scientists at 13 federal departments was, "Yeah, I don't believe it." The reality of climate change is whatever Trump believes it to be and Trump doesn't believe anything that contradicts his wrecking ball instincts.
It's not North Korea or Iran that troubles me. It's the United States of America. That is humanity's mortal threat.