Sunday, November 7, 2021

So Much Depends on Just 30 Years

This was the lead of a recent Inside Climate News story:

It's been more than 30 years since the IPCC first warned the world that greenhouse gases were dangerously warming the planet. Decades of UN climate negotiations followed, culminating in the 2015 Paris agreement. Yet, in that time, humans have pumped more carbon dioxide into the air than in the preceding 240 years. Since that first IPCC report in 1990, emissions have increased 60% and the average global temperature has climbed 0.75 degrees Celsius. (emphasis added)

That's the thing that all the obfuscation and denialism hides: this shit is recent, and it could have been stopped by us, or the governments we've elected, or the people still running MegaCorp. All but the youngest of us were alive and functioning adults for the worst of greenhouse gas emissions.

Those of us in the developed world and particularly the richest of the West (and within that, the U.S.) are the most responsible, as shown by this chart:

As University of Texas professor Arvind Ravikumar remarked about it,

Whenever someone tries whataboutism on climate action by saying ‘But China or India,’ show them this graph. The top 10% of emitters in either China or India emit less than the bottom 50% of emitters in the US.

And it's not overpopulation, as Professor Ravikumar's tweet demonstrates: it's overconsumption by a relative few, based on lifestyles premised on land use patterns that inherently require overconsumption.

Convincing the satiated majority that they are the problem and they need to change, that change is not bad and can lead to a better way... that's hard in our 24/7 life of misinformation and willfully monetized destruction.

Switching to 100% wind, water, and solar by following an obtainable path, as shown by Stanford's Mark Jacobson, is necessary but not sufficient. As many have said, that's the low-hanging fruit of the changes we need to make, since it doesn't get at the root cause of our society's dysfunction.

All we can hope is that organizing and working to turn even one corner will start a cascade in a good direction.

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