Okay, so the International Panel on Climate Change says we have to start right away if we are to avoid the worst catastrophes from climate change. Yes, much worse is coming if we don’t take radical action fast.
That’s what the Trump administration’s National Climate Assessment tells us – the $400 billion in weather-related damage since 2015 (not counting the recent California wildfires or the two big hurricanes that hit land in the U.S. this fall) is just chump change compared to what’s coming.
The NCA’s 4th report “assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.” And the picture it paints isn’t pretty, especially for “People who are already vulnerable, including lower-income and other marginalized communities,” because they “have lower capacity to prepare for and cope with extreme weather and climate-related events and are expected to experience greater impacts.”
But, “Prioritizing adaptation actions for the most vulnerable populations would contribute to a more equitable future within and across communities.” And best of all, “Global action to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions can substantially reduce climate-related risks and increase opportunities for these populations in the longer term.”
The IPCC report emphasizes that we still have time to reach the Paris accords goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Along with a host of qualifications, the panel says, “1.5°C-consistent pathways can be identified under a range of assumptions about economic growth, technology developments and lifestyles.” (My emphasis added.)
That’s the good news. There’s already lots of bad news. The NCA isn’t fun reading. But living through the consequences of ignoring all this won’t be fun, especially for our kids and grandkids.
What can you do?
You’d better start paying attention to the progressives in Congress who are campaigning for a Green New Deal. They want to have the House bill debated, negotiated and marked up so that in January 2021 it can be at the top of the new president’s and new Congress’ agenda.
But you can’t wait until then. My handy-dandy list to help you figure that all out can be found in this post from 2017.
Better yet, if you’re from Chicago, come to the Ready for 100 Collective Kickoff Party, where you can meet with a great group of climate activists and watch Al Gore and his annual 24 Hours of Reality stream from around the globe. This end-of-year party is sponsored by the Climate Reality Project Chicago Chapter, the Student Environmental Alliance of Loyola Chicago, Chicago Group of the Sierra Club, SEIU Local 1, Citizens Utility Board and Sierra Club Illinois.
Oh, and one more thing – the New York Times is finally catching up to me. I wrote this about palm oil in 2016. The Times has this piece in its Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, magazine: Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe. Read labels – palm oil is in lotsa stuff on the supermarket shelves. Palm oil was supposed to be the answer to the roundly discredited use of trans fats in all kinds of processed foods. It’s not a good one.
Given my history of long spaces between posts, which I keep promising myself will change in the near future, I will take this moment to wish all of this blog’s readers a great holiday season and a happy, green New Year.