Friday, July 26, 2019

If I Had One Word to Describe Climate Change...

To me, one word captures the essence of climate change - faster.

The onset of climate change is coming at us faster than we ever imagined even just a few years ago.

Ten years ago we were still talking about how this or that might happen by 2100 if we didn't mend our ways. Time and again those forecasts have been proven wrong. The world of 2100 is here now. There's such a thing as optimism but to be this far off is, or should be, worrisome.

This has been building for a while but what really got me was an article in The Barents Observer relating how Svalbard, the northernmost settlement on Earth, 1300 miles inside the Arctic Circle, had already warmed 7 degrees Celsius above, not pre-industrial levels - the usual benchmark, but 1970 levels. Svalbard. The permafrost, the foundation of the far north, is thawing. Homes and other buildings are shifting as the ground beneath them gives way. And, yes, I do read the Barents Observer every now and then.

Is this the face of runaway global warming? Have we crossed the ultimate tipping point? I don't know, maybe. What I do know is that climate change is coming on faster than we thought possible.  Whether it's the drought-striken US south where fields are now underwater or the heat waves wracking Europe, the evidence is plain. We are nowhere near prepared for this.

What isn't coming faster is government action on climate change.  Our own government isn't keeping up with the acceleration of climate change. Instead of keeping up it's steadily falling further behind the targets set by Stephen Harper's government.  Trudeau's gestural response, a $30 a tonne carbon tax on CO2 emissions, is laughable in the context of record heatwaves, crop failures, the melting Arctic. That might have sounded exemplary ten or fifteen years ago but the Canada of fifteen years ago is no more. The climate of that period has changed.

Our government has to catch up. It has to move faster to respond to the rapid change spreading around the world and at home. It is failing not just our grandkids. It's failing us too.


Trailblazer said...

I am becoming to believe that what we have been told to expect in the future was diluted so as not to create panic or more likely to sound more reasonable to a western world that has it's very being hinged upon flogging it off to the next generation!
What a selfish load of pricks we have become.

Our adoration of the rich and famous is testament to that thought.


Lorne said...

I don't like to say this publicly, but I do believe we are likely past the point of no return, Mound. That is not to say we still shouldn't try, but I suspect that the overwhelming changes currently engulfing the world will be the new justification for doing nothing.

Lorne said...

to elaborate on my last point, what I mean is that the focus will be on adaptation of infrastructure, etc., with nary a thought to mitigation. The former will ultimately prove to be a mug's game.

Trailblazer said...

The former will ultimately prove to be a mug's game.

Perhaps so but there will be more money to be made from that approach and at the taxpayers expense.


The Mound of Sound said...

I expect Lorne's right on adaptation versus mitigation. When vital infrastructure fails we see that as a loss to the economy or an immediate threat to the voting public.

Stu said...

I think the tipping points have already been breached as well. But I don't bother trying talk about all the planetary crises we face to anybody. Most don't want to hear it, if they don't outright deny it. I can't blame them.
Perhaps ignorance is bliss.

I watched Greta Thunberg's speech to the French Parliament, and she sums up the situation we're in clearly and eloquently. She pulls no punches and doesn't take the B.S. we're being fed. My fave part (with reference to the carbon budget):

"And not once, not one single time have I heard a journalist, politician, or businessman even mention these numbers. It’s almost like you don’t even know these numbers exist. As if you haven’t even read the latest IPCC report, on which much of the future of our civilization is depending. Or perhaps you are simply not mature enough to tell it like it is. Because even that burden, you leave to us children."
(emphasis mine)

The Mound of Sound said...

Stu, Thunberg captures the hypocrisy that runs so deep through our political caste. Trudeau loves to draw our attention to the carbon tax. To hear him tell it, it is meaningful. In what way? What are the goals? Show us the math. Where do we need to get to and how will this minuscule tax get us there? At every turn Trudeau shuns specifics as a vampire shuns the noonday sun. That's why we wind up with political solutions to a scientific challenge. Apples, meet oranges.