When I was young, the evening news program was followed by the weather. For much of this summer, the weather was the first thing on the French news; record temperatures being broken all over Europe, devastating hail-storms and even tornadoes, June 2019 being the hottest June on record, July 2019 being the hottest ever month. There were articles about the human costs for farmers who generally can’t afford insurance against the weather; vineyards where all the plants have been scorched brown and killed by the sun, orchards where all the fruit trees have been lost to hail and replanting is the only cure, cattle in completely brown dead fields being fed hay intended for this winter, high suicide rates for farmers, bankruptcies. Then there were articles on downstream problems like fires and ice melt in Greenland. Obviously this isn’t scientific proof of climate change, but these are just the latest, slightly more intense, versions of messages we’ve been seeing for a long time.
The good news is that there’s plenty of evidence that public opinion, even in the US, firmly believes that climate change is real, serious, man-made and needs to be addressed; what’s more, this view is hardening (e.g. see Vox). There are fewer and fewer climate change deniers or minimizers.
The bad news is that this growing awareness isn’t being translated into useful actions.
Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, but why are we emitting those gases?
- Population growth
- Growth in the high carbon economy
- Developing Countries are developing
- Hidden government fossil fuel subsidies
- Pollution is free
- Convenient choices are often environmentally poor
- The Government pollutes as well
The consequences are more severe and happening sooner than most current predictions.
- Rising Sea Levels
- Ocean Acidification
- Climate Damage
- Unlivable Areas
- The hottest and poorest countries suffer the most
- A Catastrophic Climate Shift
These positive feedbacks could accelerate climate change to the point where the Earth resembles Venus.