Living in the age of climate crisis will mess you up in ways you might not even imagine, not now anyway.
A report by 27 national science academies (trust me, that's a lot) details how the climate crisis will get us if we let it but also suggests how much better off we could be if we force our political leadership to rapidly transition to clean, renewable energy. It's sort of a "carrot and stick" scenario.
Scorching heatwaves and floods will claim more victims as extreme weather increases but there are serious indirect effects too, from spreading mosquito-borne diseases to worsening mental health.
“There are impacts occurring now [and], over the coming century, climate change has to be ranked as one of the most serious threats to health,” said Prof Sir Andrew Haines, a co-chair of the report for the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (Easac).
However, there were also great benefits from action to cut carbon emissions, the report found, most notably cutting the 350,000 early deaths from air pollution every year in Europe caused by burning fossil fuels. “The economic benefits of action to address the current and prospective health effects of climate change are likely to be substantial,” the report concluded.
The World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned in November that climate breakdown was already a health crisis. “We cannot delay action on climate change,” he said. “We cannot sleepwalk through this health emergency any longer.” In December, a WHO report said tackling the climate crisis would save at least a million lives a year, making it a moral imperative to act.I don't know about you but saving a million lives a year when we have the means within our grasp sounds like a fine idea. Some big companies might get hurt but, hey, they're the same companies that are killing us by perpetuating the carbon economy. Is it that hard to say "screw you"?
We need to see fossil fuels as we came to see asbestos, as a killer, a taker of innocent lives, that we perpetuated for profit for many years. In Canada we banned asbestos but Jaysus we were fine with exporting it to countries that weren't in to protecting their people.
Fossil energy is a killer. The report yesterday out of Australia contends that it could wipe out human civilization by 2050. We know that atmospheric carbon continues to increase and the rate of increase is, well, increasing. We're in a suicide pact with fossil energy.
Maybe it's just me but I don't think we should be committing suicide on a civilizational scale. For what, some companies and their shareholders? That just strikes me as illogical, counter-intuitive. What am I missing?'