Prepare your grandchildren
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?