Warning shots seem like a waste of ammunition, especially when the world is deaf – as seems to be the case time and time again in the context of climate change.
A series of increasingly alarming reports from the world’s best scientists is bound to elicit nothing but an indifferent response.
Experience invariably shows that change only occurs when the status quo becomes more painful than change. And most of those who bear the brunt of the most serious consequences are those who have least contributed to causing them, and yet are most at risk.
Because what is happening in the world is a reflection of ourselves, or rather the privileged industrialized nations that are enjoying the benefits and largely escaping the damaging consequences of their failure to respond to the climate crisis.
So when a multi-agency report coordinated by an institution like the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warns that without much more ambitious action, the impacts of climate change “will be increasingly devastating”, there is an overwhelming need for action.
Weather-related disasters have quintupled over the past 50 years, killing an average of 115 people a day – and the consequences are set to get worse, the WMO said. It has also pointed out that emissions reduction pledges for 2030 need to be seven times higher to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree target.
In response to the findings, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “The impacts of climate change are moving into uncharted territory of destruction.” The evidence of the urgent need to change our behavior is irrefutable. The past seven years have been the warmest on record.
This year, a record heatwave in California has exacerbated the western United States’ worst drought in centuries. Here in Europe, the water level of the Rhine has been so low in recent weeks that the vital waterway has been almost impassable for shipping at times. Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze, is struggling to feed farms and hydroelectric power plants. The crops have withered in the heat from India to the American Midwest.
Scientists have long warned of the threats that climate change poses to the stability of the global economic system. The severity of this summer’s drought conditions shows that the crisis is already here – and governments have not done nearly enough to prepare for it.
We know climate change is real; most of us want to tackle it.
Sustainable, clean energy and reducing fossil fuel consumption must be mandatory if we are to have any chance of progress.
Suffering arises from trying to control the uncontrollable or from neglecting what is within our power. But much remains in our own hands if we seize the opportunity now.
Thomas Hobbes said hell is a truth seen too late.
It’s not too late yet. But just as we’ve run out of excuses, we’ll soon run out of time.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/mandatory-action-on-clean-energy-and-fossil-fuels-is-essential-to-mitigate-climate-change-41987244.html Binding action on clean energy and fossil fuels is essential to curbing climate change