My hometown, Vancouver, is in a rainforest, so we celebrate sunny days. People I talk to are enjoying the recent warm, dry weather, but they invariably add, "This isn't normal" — especially with all the smoke from nearby forest fires.
There will be no decarbonization until the economics demands it. Unfortunately (cataclysmically), the current and foreseeable economic paradigms don't grasp this. Money trumps politics. Always has and hopefully money will cease its primacy.
I see the biggest obstacle as the global fossil fuel corpses and nations' continuing to support them, both with subsidies, permits to suck the earth dry and cause small to large cataclysms (oil spills, earthquakes, poisoned aquifers, to name a few), war to acquire them and outright support of them. Imagine how much energy the U.S. military uses daily, and most of that ain't green.
The Same Old Same Old... just ain't the same anymore! When it comes to climate change we know this to be true intellectually but we do not experience just how different things will become. There is a persuasive sense of expectation that something will be done in time to save us. Even among progressives there is a natural optimism that incorporates a hope that the future will be better. In the case of progressives it is a belief that at least some action will be taken on global warming which though somewhat late in coming and not nearly enough but at least enough to give us a little bit more time to do something more later etc.
This is based on the science projections and the most detailed and extensive models that we can manage .
What if they are wrong?
They've been wrong ...by a lot... like that 'first' IPCC report that garnered so much excitement. It did not include the melt water off Greenland's ice cap when estimating sea level rise.
What do we say when like David Suzuki we look outside our door and notice something is wrong. Whether it is drought or forest fire or fish die offs or tap water that catches on fire or super storms like which have never been seen ( you get the sense that there have been bad storms before but in just a few years we've seen some huge ones and it is likely that despite the relatively primitive records that suggest that some past storms were impressive on occasion that our 'big' storms like Sandy or the triple cyclones that hit the Philippines and so on... have actually been bigger.
Simply put ...storms have gotten bigger than they have ever been before! That sounds scarier than saying 'once in 50 year storms' which sound like they have happened before.
Did anyone notice that without that inherent optimism that ... California has lost it's ability to grow crops? Not every crop but as would be defined by a food producing state label. Permanently losing its ability to grow crops sounds scarier than a long drought (which implies that it will change back again). California may be already lost (as a crop producing state) to global warming permanently.
What about fishing? Or rather what about fishing when there aren't any fish? Is this when fishery management observers that are placed on board fishing boats are removed? Is this when dredge nets that scrape along the sea bottom, destroying its capability as a spawning site for fish and scallops etc. are permitted in refuge areas? Dredging nets are like once only use. That is like drinking your fill of water and then poisoning the well after you so that no one else can drink from it.
Our way of seeing the future isn't scary enough. People aren't nearly as scared as they should be yet. But that day is coming and really fast too. The problem is that to prevent the worst from happening, we have to DO something before it actually starts to happen.
Right now we are still waiting to see the worst first before we do something to prevent it. We want to see the barn is burning before we call the fire department because smelling smoke isn't enough. Seeing smoke isn't enough! We want to feel the heat and see the fire first. But by then it is way too late isn't it? We could have kept the barn from burning down but we waited to be sure it was burning first.
Sounds dumb huh?
Smelling smoke and then pretending that the presence of smoke doesn't prove that there is a fire is definitely dumb.
Welcome to your future... the one we didn't need to see... but waited for and which we are now beginning to see.
Things will move faster now. So much faster. Have we noticed yet that we've already lost the California that we knew and that we will have a different California from now on?
Or are we still in that insane >>> 'let's hope that we don't have to do anything and it'll get better on its own' stage?
edit (for edit's sake already!)
Well why don't you help solve the problem and jump off a bridge?
Already pollution both air and water from coal industry costs US more each year than coal firms get profit from it--over $340billion/year for extra health care expense. I figure our military leaders can find at least $100billion/year maybe as much as $150billion/year of military pork to exchange for same money spent for parts to harden our electric grid to withstand both electromagnetic pulse and weather-related disaster plus equipment to harness renewable energy from same MIC firms as lose pork contracts. Then they can place the equipment with utilities to replace fossil fuel -- coal first and split generation charges for the electric power from the equipment same amount to fossil fuel firms as they lose sales. Enough coal to generate a megawatt of electric power costs $33. Our oil and gas firms would love to drill for geothermal power--and FERC should encourage them--streamline the application and get those permits out to the gas and oil firms so they can be busy and out of mischief drilling for geothermal instead of oil and gas. As we start saving on health care due to cleaner air for less burning of coal, we can speed up the replacement and then go on to replace natural gas for electric power with renewable energy. And with electric passenger vehicles and trains and buses and even trucks, demand for electric power will increase and be met with even more renewable energy. When we have enough savings on health care from replacing coal with renewable energy, we should even be able to help developing nations some.
And this is the exact mindset and attitude companies like BP and Exxon have when it comes to "preventative maintenance" Vs. their "run to failure", "for profit mentality"- They will let Oil lines and facilities go to failure because not one irresponsible CEO goes to jail and the fines are much less that the profit made from keeping production on line-
Can we afford to let these "profit for the shareholders at any cost" Capitalist Psychopaths sacrifice our planet and make all of us victims of their greed- I say NOT!!!
Money will trump everything else until its faith based nature causes the currencies of the world to fizzle and cease to have value. The super rich who continue to believe their fortunes will keep them fat and happy despite the horrific deterioration in the living conditions of the rest of us will discover to their shock and awe that their presumed wealth has become worthless and that they are broke too.
Whether the economic unraveling stems from Greece and the EU, or the decline of the Chinese stock market, or the moves being made to replace the US dollar with another chief currency, or some other situation that has yet to show itself, the house of marked cards that is the global economy (it's too much of a mess to call it a "system") will surely unravel and could do so with a stunning humanity crushing suddenness.
The 1%, though they don't realize it, are in the same boat as the rest of us, and leaks are springing up every day. The financial catastrophe is likely to strike a destabilizing blow sooner than the environmental crash and burn, and the panic caused by global bank failures stands a real good chance of setting off wars.
How about slamming Pentagon Comptroller Rabbi Dov Zakheim (from May 4, 2001 to March 10, 2004) up against the wall and sqweeze him about the 2.3 TRILLION that came up missing from the Pentagon budget as 9-11 was in full swing- Also, what about the additional 1 TRILLION $$$ that came up missing A few years later under his watch- This guy is A dual citizen Zionist Israeli and that dog barks loud and suspiciously..."Cui bono?"
""Rabbi Dov Zakheim was the co-author of the PNAC paper on rebuilding America’s defenses. Zakheim advocated the necessity of a Pearl Harbor-like incident to mobilize America. (such as 9/11) Zakheim served as Pentagon comptroller from May 4, 2001 to March 10, 2004. Two large sums of money disappeared from the Pentagon under him. In the beginning $2.3 trillion was reported missing by Donald Rumsfeld (September 10, 2001) and later Zakheim was unable to account for another trillion dollars! Zakheim also had squads of American F-15s and F-16s sold as surplus to Israel at a fraction of their value"".
I live in Minnesota and the air was smoky one day this week, you could smell the fire, 2/3 of our state with unhealthy levels from the fires in Canada; this month was the first time I've felt something tangible in person since learning about climate change in college last year. I also went camping for the 4th of July and the sky was eerie white the entire four days, blocking the hot sun but like the article starts out- "so not normal."
The only problem is that the bastards would probably strike oil while drilling for geothermal and the race would be on again.
* Remember, for these people, "Bucks are good, BIG BUCKS ARE BETTER!"
* Environment, health, food, is of far less importance to these people than a large computer driven bank account.
* To them, Pensions, living wages, health care are just a drain on profits, to be eliminated by any means necessary.
* Unfortunately, they seem to be very good at it. They don't mind dumping millions or billions into buying politicians so that anything the people want or need can be given a no vote by their bought and paid for puppets.
* The real irony is that We the People seem to feel that we can change things by replacing one sock puppet with another!
* Of course the puppeteers love that.
I do not follow scandals. I have enough on my mind with stuff still perfectly legal but obviously counterproductive --like failing to at least reduce as quickly as possible greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuel to power world civilization. Wind and solar power are both not only very much technically feasible and cheaper than tolerating further damage to climate and public health, but also just about cost-competitive with coal for wind power and with natural gas for solar power, and both still declining in price while costs for fossil fuel are still increasing. I believe that if we give our military leaders a chance to negotiate exchanging some military pork contracts that they no longer want for electric grid improvements and means to harness renewable energy, we can place all that equipment with electric utilities and have the utilities pay for it by paying their usual fossil fuel suppliers for the fossil fuel displaced by use of the equipment--like $33/MWh for coal displaced and between two and three times that for natural gas displaced. Replace coal first because it causes more harm to public health and start in West Virginia because there is likely to be greater savings on health care cost in West Virginia than in other coal burning states.
7.3 billion actually... but what's 300 million between friends? Oh wait??? 300 million... that's the whole USA!
A billion per decade ... it is hard to believe such a staggering figure is real but it explains why the rate of climate change is so rapid.
The problem is that our systems and institutions and even our way of thinking about the world is geared for when there were fewer people. We can't adjust to such a rapid pace of change.
Meanwhile as the world population increases ... so does the pace of climate change.
Are we capable enough to incorporate another billion people every decade?
Sen. Inhofe is throwing snowballs ... and you wonder why people are getting really scared?
We can build a new system when we all refuse to honor the one now in use. If we all simply refuse to pay rich people and make them richer yet, they can do nothing about it. Declare the Jubilee. All debts are off. Refuse to work for or buy from exploiters. Together we can learn to grow our own food, pedal our own bikes and care for our neighbors.