I never like to bring people down, especially when it is 60 degrees and sunny in Boston on December 3rd, but I couldn’t help but feel a wave of panic upon reading the three paragraph DOE report from yesterday.
Some of excerpts:
Two recent compendiums of climate change science compiled by leading climate scientists show that the impacts of climate change are happening sooner and at a greater magnitude than previously thought.
The first new report, released in late September by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is titled “Climate Change Science Compendium 2009,” while the second, released in late November by 26 climate researchers, is called “The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science.” Both are based on published, peer-reviewed climate science.
Both reports reach the same conclusions, namely, that Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass and contributing to sea level rise at an increasing rate; that Arctic sea ice has melted far beyond the expectations of climate models
Both reports also note that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels were 40% higher in 2008 than they were in 1990
According to the reports, if emissions are maintained at today’s levels for the next 20 years, the possibility of limiting global warming to less than 2°C will disappear. Climate scientists generally concur that a global temperature rise of 2°C or more will lead to disastrous consequences.
The comprehensive UNEP report also warns of ocean acidification, melting mountain glaciers, and the possibility that “tipping points” in the climate could soon be reached.
I don’t know about you, but these sentences send chills down my spine. The content is alarming, and the delivery is direct, with no opinions on the matter, just cold hard facts. If, in a 100 years, we look back and ask “how did this happen,” we cannot claim that we did not know and that we were not warned. As the report states, this is what is going to happen, and unless there is major change in the behavior of our society, there is nothing we can do to stop it.
When do we begin to get a sense of urgency? What needs to happen? Because I am pretty certain if this gets any media attention at all it will be right after the pieces about Tiger Woods’ affair, Susan Boyle’s album release, and the Grammy’s.
It boggles my mind that climate change is not at the top of everyone’s agenda. I’m talking about each and every one of us as individuals, as small companies, as large corporations, as a country, and as a global community. While the situation is certainly dire, pessimism and apathy are not forward moving drivers. For the next week or so I will try to write a variety of positive posts, sharing smart ideas, innovative projects, and progressive tools. Please feel free to share your own!