As you have no doubt noticed, our state, nation and planet are experiencing yet another summer of record heat and intense storms. As scientists have explained and predicted for decades, climate change resulting from global warming caused by greenhouse gases is altering weather patterns and spurring large and deeply problematic changes in the Earth’s environment.
It is a rapidly worsening crisis that is helping to accelerate the extinction of numerous species and making large areas of land increasingly uninhabitable. Across the planet, even here in the United States, millions of people have become “climate refugees” as the lands they and numerous other living species once called home have been flooded by rising seas or become rugged deserts.
That now is the time for urgent and concrete action by every individual, group and institution with the least ability to help combat this emergency is beyond question.
And fortunately, this is a message that seems to finally arrive in many places that have long denied or excluded it.
Across the globe, manufacturers of polluting cars, planes and other means of transportation have finally begun the process of weaning their creations from fossil fuels.
Huge public and private institutions like the US military and the insurance industry are taking steps to change practices and adapt, if only to preserve vulnerable assets and survive.
And while they continue to downplay their role in triggering particularly harmful pollutants like methane, even some large oil companies now post prominent claims on their corporate websites admitting truths like “the future of energy will be low-carbon.”
And last week, US Senate negotiators agreed on climate legislation that could have a significant impact.
However, whether such actions and statements will be enough to avoid widespread disasters for the planet and those who call it home is, tragically, highly questionable. Even if humanity somehow manages to achieve ambitious goals for mid-century “carbon neutrality”, things will still be far worse than they are today. In the absence of a series of unforeseen technological miracles, a massive overhaul of human life patterns or, ideally, both, the physical, economic and political pressures on the earth’s billions of greedy human inhabitants are sure to increase in the decades to come.
Of course, one of the many great tragedies associated with this sobering situation is that we could have avoided a good part of it. The scientific consensus on climate change dates back to the 1920sth Century and it’s been 16 years since former Vice President Al Gore made the film “An Inconvenient Truth”.
As with the dangers of cigarettes, cars without seat belts, and widespread easy access to military-grade assault weapons, it didn’t and it doesn’t take a genius to understand what the ever-increasing consumption of carbon fuels and emissions it produces were and are making to the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, as has become the norm in so many areas in the modern era, greed, ignorance, and a stubborn reluctance to change, or even to put up with minor inconveniences, have got in the way.
Driven by the denials of the selfish and polluting industries and the propaganda of the conservative “free market” think tanks they financed, millions of Americans have naively fallen into the mad idea that the climate emergency is some kind of hoax born of a nefarious conspiracy of liberals. to squeeze all the fun out of life.
Here in North Carolina, groups funded by conservative mega-donor Art Pope have for years been generating a steady stream of commentary, links, and “research” designed to promote this fantasy. Some posts claimed that climate change caused by global warming wasn’t really happening. Others have said that if it were, it would probably be due to solar cycles or some other non-anthropocentric cause.
More recently, as the reality of climate change has become painfully and inevitably obvious to anyone not in a coma, deniers have begun to deny that real-world disasters (such as the huge spike in Western fires in recent years) have any connection. with the phenomenon. Other posts simply warn against doing anything to deal with the situation. You can visit the John Locke Foundation website and search for “climate change” to see some of these things.
And, of course, all this propaganda has taken a huge and destructive toll by providing convenient cover for inept politicians at the mercy of corporate lobbyists who warn against pollution taxes that could somehow “harm the economy”.
Never mind that the “tax” imposed on all of us by climate change – in the form of massive cleaning and infrastructure costs (as well as loss of life and planetary well-being) – undermines any financial levy any government official has ever considered by asking. Americans.
Conclusion: If there is any justice left in the world, at some point very soon climate change deniers, like many other enemies of truth throughout history, will come to see the disastrous mistake of their ways, will apologize to the millions of people who their actions have helped to endanger and join the effort to promote real solutions for our increasingly fragile planet.
One can only hope that there will still be a considerable part to be saved when the truth finally arises.