Reports on dangers of climate change are coming faster and thicker. Why? Because changes are accelerating in time. We are pushing the climate harder every year by burning more fossil fuels. Power of our instruments and data handling doubles knowledge every two years. Wisdom lags.
The UK Guardian reports ‘climate change is already damaging the global economy’ (please google that to read it). The climate vulnerability monitor 2010 (google it) finds that climate change is already killing 400,000 people every year and costing $1.2 trillion a year. Most of the cost is borne by the people who are least responsible. The monitor projects that there will be five million climate deaths in the next 10 years. The report also finds that 4.5 million people die every year from continued use of fossil fuels.
This is happening now, before we reach even a 1°C rise, and while nations like Australia are pushing coal.
Climate scientists say warming could exceed 3.5°C (yes, please, google that as well). The impacts of climate change will be non-linear, meaning that a 4°C rise isn’t four times as bad as 1°C – it’s much, much worse than that. At 4°C rise, some scientists say (http://quitcoal.org.au/info) that the Earth’s carrying capacity will go down to one billion people – or fewer!
Climate change is an easily fixable problem, if take it seriously and we start soon enough, but time is rapidly running out.
Personal actions to reduce our own footprint are good, but not enough. We certainly don’t have time to wait for everyone to voluntarily reduce their own carbon footprint.
To fix this we need to exert sustained political pressure. We need everyone’s voice against the entrenched force of big money.
We’re lucky – while we live in one of the most polluting countries in the world, alternatives are abundantly available, and we also have freedom of speech. We can make more of a difference living here than many others in the world can. We owe it to the rest of the world, especially those in the developing world, to have a go at fixing this.
So please – if you’re not already taking part in campaigns to solve this problem, start now. Come to our Walk for Solar this Sunday: http://tweedcan.org.au/.
Spread the word on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/420177061379355/.
Take action against CSG http://northernriversguardians.org/, and take action against the rapid expansion of coal http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/climate/Polluting-our-future/.
Change will only happen when enough ordinary people stand up and make it happen.
Yasir Assam and Paul Taylor, PhD