Pre­pare your grand­chil­dren

Boating NZ - - Editor’s Note - Lawrence Schäf­fler Ed­i­tor

Un­less you’ve been hid­ing in a cave for the past month or so, you will be aware of the United Na­tion’s re­cently-re­leased re­port about the fragility of hu­man­ity’s fu­ture.

The In­tergovern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) re­port – re­leased in early Oc­to­ber – is per­haps the stark­est, most dire warn­ing yet about the dan­gers mankind faces as a re­sult of cli­mate change. Mul­ti­ple strate­gies are re­quired to re­duce green­house emis­sions and limit a global tem­per­a­ture rise to 1.5°C.

None of these strate­gies is par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive, but then the con­se­quences of not adopt­ing them – says IPCC – are much more hor­rific. The full re­port is 400 pages long, a daunt­ing read for even the most com­mit­ted of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists. The ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary is much more palat­able. You can view it at: www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ses­sion48/pr_181008_p48_sp­m_en.pdf

For me the most chill­ing part of the re­port’s warn­ing is the time­frame: it con­cludes that we have a mere 12 years (!) to adopt the changes sci­en­tists be­lieve are re­quired to avert the ru­n­away im­pact of a greater-than-1.5°c global tem­per­a­ture rise. We’re on track for 3°C.

I’m aware that the global warm­ing/cli­mate change de­bate of­ten pro­duces foam­ing-at-the-mouth re­ac­tions among de­niers, and evan­gel­i­cal pon­tif­i­ca­tion from sub­scribers. Typ­i­cally, hold­ing a rea­soned dis­cus­sion – or find­ing com­mon ground – is elu­sive.

I don’t know if this new re­port will sway the non-com­mit­ted or cause the un­con­vinced to re­flect – but I’d hope it would en­cour­age ra­tio­nal de­bate.

The re­port is aimed squarely at world gov­ern­ments. As its au­thors point out, the sci­en­tists have done their work, out­lined the risks and made their rec­om­men­da­tions. It is now up to world lead­ers to show – well, some lead­er­ship.

Pres­i­dent Trump fa­mously stated that he be­lieved cli­mate change to be a hoax, and with­drew the US from the Paris Agree­ment be­cause com­mit­ting to it would cost jobs and re­strict eco­nomic growth.

As I write, the US me­dia is re­port­ing him now ac­knowl­edg­ing that cli­mate change is hap­pen­ing, though he be­lieves the cli­mate will ‘change back’ again.

One small step for mankind?

Happy boat­ing.

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