Taking the Temperature
Lots of climate crisis-related signals flooding the inputs lately. The level of chatter is definitely on the rise and increased activity in is popping up on radar.
What’s most interesting is the way the usual battle lines of left and right that have traditionally defined the debate are being being thoroughly trashed. As increasing numbers of companies and policymakers confront certain irrefutable, if inconvenient, truths, cross-over to the side of intelligent thinking is growing, making the idea that urgent action is needed now more of a concensus view and progressively isolating those who still insist that we just don’t have enough evidence to validate the “risk” of taking action (!). It’s not so much a liberal-activist/conservative-business stratification at this point as it us an act/don’t act split. And the “acts” are solidly ahead.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the momentum is on our side and much-needed change is coming. If this were the late 70s, when scientists rang the first alarm bells, I’d be quite confident we’d get the job done. But, as is so often the case with us wacky humans, humanity was waited until just about the last possible minute to deal with this and now we’ve got mere years rather than decades to avoid the tipping point. Still, there’s much hope for optimism. Here’s a look at the portents heating up the wires…
Today’s New York Times has a nice analysis and some histroical perspective on the energy bills Congress is expected to pass this week. (Try not to laugh when it says “Business interests are… claiming (the legislation) will impose unacceptable costs on American industry.” Guess those guys haven’t done a compare/contrast exersise on the costs to American industry of a ruined home world…). Still not enough, but it’s a start, and it’s refreshing to see our leaders actually, well, you know… leading.
Making a further mockery of the position that it’s more damaging to do something than nothing is a new report from McKinsey & Co. that finds the costs of preventing change aren’t nearly as high as the economic fearmongers would like us to believe. This is a pretty significant trashing of the crazy idea that strong preventative/precautionary action would decapitate the American and global economies.
Our good bud, Joel Makower, also has some good reporting on the McKinsey report and other related topics.
Anyone who still has their head buried in the rapidly warming sands of denial should view the video White Rhino sent me a few days ago of scientist David Wasdell. He talks softly but carries a big stick. And his ideas are exactly what we need.
Then there’s this thoroughly excellent cost-benefit analysis from an unknown science guy that really should be required viewing for every American who still thinks we just don’t have enough global warming proof to warrant action. Watch as this video utterly crushes that slightly creepy and hugely misinformed perspective to utter dust now and for all time. Nicely played…
As if on cue, a new group called the Presidential Climate Action Project is laying the groundwork for fast climate action by the next president. The organization’s Presidential Climate Action Plan does all the homework ahead of time so whoever thankfully replaces the Current Occupant of the White House can hit the ground running and put a swift and succinct end to the last eight years of dangerous inaction and obfuscation.
That’s going to be critical because a new United Nations report warns that we unless we cut carbon emissions by half over the next generation, the climatic poo is going to hit the environmental fan big time. Some of the things we can expect if that happens include increased incidence of disease like malaria and dengue fever as well as a rise in extreme precipitation events like the floods that paralyzed much of the Pacific Northwest this week.