The Consequences of Climate Change
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Massive New Climate Report
Over the Thanksgiving weekend the US government released it latest report on climate change. It’s a big one! Compiled by the U. S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), it spent years reviewing all the latest scientific climate data. The news is not good.
In this, the Fourth National Climate Assessment, hundreds of specialized scientists reiterated the serious threat of climate change. The rapid warming of the earth is unequivocally due to human activity, and we need to change the rate at which we are warming the planet, or face the dire consequences (check out the CBS Interview).
It doesn’t get more real than this. Although the current White House administration is clearly in favor of encouraging more fossil fuels, this report was thankfully free of any White House influence (see Study Contradicts the President). The WH administration did however manage to delay the release of the report, so that it came out on Black Friday.
Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, immediately following the US Thanksgiving Holiday. It looks as though they were hoping to have this report slip under the radar, while most Americans are stuffed and preoccupied.
The internet however does not sleep, and journalists from around the country got wind of this monumental report. It’s pretty scary stuff! Perhaps we will now look back and consider it a Black Friday for very different reasons.
The rundown (it’s a massive report) is this. Climate change and erratic weather will cause a decline in crop production (food), increase the likelihood of disease (food and waterborne illness), generate more bugs, more fires and floods, bigger wetter storms, and make breathing more difficult. For more on the threats and challenges ahead, check out this NY Times article. So there’s the bad news.
Oh and in case food and breathing wasn’t enough to cause alarm, there will also be a pretty enormous financial cost to the economy (see Americans Will Pay Billions for Climate Change). This had to be highlighted as well, since governments seem to regularly care for the economy over human and environmental health (for instance the US & Saudi Arabia or Canada & Oil Pipelines).
Despite the dire news there is still hope. Humans are effecting this change, but we can also stop it! On the positive side, there are already solutions for stopping the rise of climate change. For starters, it means getting off our fossil fuel dependency (see also Stop Funding Fossil Fuels).
This implies no more drilling or oil extractions (see New Zealand Ban). Rather, human society must transition to renewable energy sources to satisfy its needs. It also means we must put a stop to the extensive deforestation of the planet, and instead work to protect the forests and plant more trees. Trees are still one of the best tools we have for countering CO2.
There are certainly other critical transformations we must encourage in order to evolve past the overconsumption of the planet’s resources. Such progress will also require the adoption of sustainable and organic farming practices, better waste and water management, and certainly the letting go of plastic disposables.
Alternatives already exist! Whether in selecting alternatives to plastic, or opting for cleaner means of transportation, motivated individuals are already making the switch. The issue is time. We need to rapidly transition away from our destructive models as quickly as possible. We are nearing the threshold of what the planet can endure before it goes through some event more dramatic changes in response to our influence.
Thankfully, there is also a social change underway. With every new report, every new environmental disaster, awareness is growing among the population. It is dawning on people that our current methods are unsustainable, and more people are deciding that it is time for a change. The increased environmental activism and political participation is also giving me hope. Society is waking up to the danger. It is past time for governments to do the same.