A few of the apocalyptic headlines from the past few days:
Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’ – BBC news
Landmark UN climate report warns time quickly running out – Al Jazeera news
Scientists Just Laid Out Paths to Solve Climate Change. We Aren’t on Track to Do Any of Them –Time magazine
Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn – CNN
Earth has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn – ABC news
UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning – CBC news
Terrifying climate change warning: 12 years until we’re doomed – New York Post
U.N. Panel Warns Drastic Action Needed to Stave Off Climate Change – Wall Street Journal.
Unprecedented action needed to curb global warming – UN report – ITV news
UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning – Victoria Times-Colonist
A major new climate report slams the door on wishful thinking – Vox
Climate Report Warns Of Extreme Weather, Displacement of Millions Without Action – NPR
Alarming as it is, this is hardly the first time scientists have warned us that we have to make changes or we face a catastrophe. And it’s not like we can’t see it coming: record tornadoes, record hurricanes, record typhoons, record temperatures, record tsunamis, record droughts… this summer we were warned “2018 Is Shaping Up to Be the Fourth-Hottest Year. Yet We’re Still Not Prepared for Global Warming” (New York Times).
As the BBC story notes:
Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, an international panel of scientists reported Sunday. But they provide little hope the world will rise to the challenge.
A SINGLE degree. Can’t we strive for at least that?
In the US, the NOAA reported:
August 2018 was characterized by warmer- to much-warmer-than-average conditions across much of the world’s land and ocean surfaces. Record warm temperatures were present across parts of each major ocean basin, with the largest portions across the Barents Sea and the western Pacific Ocean, and small areas across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. During the month, the most notable temperature departures from average were present across Europe, central Asia, the northeastern contiguous U.S., and southeastern Canada, where temperatures were 2.0°C (3.6°F) above average or higher.
All of which makes me wonder why we’ve heard so little about climate change and Collingwood during this election campaign. Aside from what I wrote in my earlier post, I’ve heard only one candidate mention it. And that concerns me.
Surely we can do something. Must do something. Surely this is important enough to all of us for us to have it on our municipal agenda. Surely this is important enough for all of us to agree we need to work together on.
Even small gestures can help. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) has a page of links to documents about what can be or has been done. Many are recent; written within this term. Why hasn’t Collingwood council used these as a springboard for action?
I know that municipal elections generally focus on local issues, but even as a small community, we have to think seriously about the legacy we’re leaving our children and grandchildren. Or even if we will leave them anything – it’s THAT dire. All the blather we candidates make about process and openness, about taxes and waterfront parks, about vindictive judicial inquiries, about prohibiting power boats from the harbour or who said what when will likely be forgotten within weeks. But climate change won’t be going away. It will just be getting worse. Tick, tock, tick tock – our collective clock is running out of time.
In a story from the Hamilton Spectator, I read this:
Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, said the UN report may “serve as a wake-up call” for some governments.
Will it be a wake-up call for Collingwood? I hope so, but the lack of commentary on the issues makes me wonder. I can’t speak for other candidates, but I will make sure it doesn’t get ignored or forgotten – either here or at the county. Our future depends on us taking action. We cannot wait for upper tier governments to do it for us.
The Spec story also added:
The take away for Canadians in the report should be the need to not just accelerate emissions cuts, but also to accelerate efforts to protect their homes and businesses from the floods, forest fires and storms that climate change is already bringing with more frequency and more force than before, he said.
The responsibility is OURS, not that of some distant government bureaucracy. We need to act here and now.
No, I don’t expect us to solve the problem alone. No I don’t expect us to lead the world in fighting climate change. But I DO expect us to at least show we care and take action, however little it may seem. To ignore the problem is unconscionable.
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“There’s little happy news to be had on the climate change front in the wake of a gloomy report issued yesterday by the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. While the international group of scientists noted that preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, they provided little hope the world will rise to the challenge. That’s despite the world now being on the brink.”