The latest climate report came out the other day, showing what a crap job we’re doing of saving the planet.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we might as well have stayed home and burned coal or wood fires for the past three decades for all the good it’s done to avert global warming. The findings inspired all the usual cataclysmic headlines — “bombshell” report, “climate disaster,” “environmental catastrophe.”
“The report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it,” advised Amjad Abdulla, an IPCC board member.
Twenty-five years after the Rio summit, 20 years after the Kyoto accord, despite relentless haranguing from governments, academics, experts, activists and sages of all size, shape and colour, we’re still going straight to hell in a handbasket, climate-wise. We won’t reach any of the targets we’re supposed to be committed to, and even if we did, it wouldn’t be enough. Hitting the target increase of 1.5 degrees C would demand “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented” change in just about very facet of daily life. Meeting the goals set at the big Paris confab in 2015 wouldn’t do the trick even if they’re jacked up after 2030.
So there you go. We’ve failed, or are well on the road to failing. Might as well prepare to reap the whirlwind. Stack some sandbags around the house, stock up on canned goods, nail down anything that could be carried away in a wind storm.
Waves crash against the shore, triggered by the outer bands of Hurricane Michael, as tourists drive by in Havana, Cuba, on Oct. 9, 2018.
Dark humour probably isn’t the best way to greet the IPCC’s warnings, but it’s hard to resist when so much talk has produced so little. If Jane and Joe Average have learned to tune out the forecasts of Armageddon, who could blame them? Despite the best efforts of millions of well-meaning common folk, who want to do their bit to contribute to the crusade, we’re still being hectored with the same stark, unreachable alarums. If your preacher delivers the same sermon every Sunday for a quarter century, eventually the mind starts to wander.
We have the climate change apparatus itself to thank for this. Eco evangelists have driven off reasonable people with wondrous demands. Countenancing policies that threaten the livelihood of millions of people doesn’t sell. “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them,” said Justin Trudeau in one of his more cogent moments. Economic illiteracy on the scale of a Suzuki or a Klein may rouse a crowd, but produces human wreckage like Venezuela’s.
People will accept a degree of discomfort if they’re convinced a crisis is imminent, the response is effective and the pain is being shared equally across the board. They also have to trust the message and the messengers.
That’s been a big problem. From very early days, politicians and public figures …read more