Taking action on climate change over the past six months, we have seen many very important things happen in the discussion.
First, we have watched all through the winter and spring as strong storms have raced across our country, winter storms like we have never seen before, tornado activity that is off the charts, and disastrous flooding throughout the country finally have people’s attention.
In addition to that, we have seen several reports published by very reputable groups that warn of grave danger if we don’t act quickly to mitigate the effects of climate change. Climate change deniers will say it is just weather. But the facts say otherwise!
Two important reports came out at the end of 2018. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that if we keep the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade, the world faces a better chance of surviving the storms, droughts, floods, species extinction and food loss that will already happen because of the current increase in the Earth’s temperature. Beyond that threshold, they are not very optimistic for the survival of the planet. Yet we can do something to stop that increase if we act within the next seven to 10 years.
The latest report, which came out May 11, says if we continue on the same course we are on now with the burning of fossil fuels, by 2100 over 187 million people will have to leave coastal cities, the largest being New York City and Shanghai. This is happening because Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than anticipated. We can still change course if we act quickly. The study is published in the National Academy of Sciences.
Lastly, we hit a horrifying milestone this past week. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 415 parts per million — the highest level ever recorded in human history.
You can do personal things in your community and your home by cutting energy use, reducing waste, recycling, cutting water use and buying local food products. But you must also insist that you state government officials and your U.S. Congress and president take steps to cut the use of fossil fuels. You must make sure the people you vote for have climate change on their agenda. If we continue on the same track we are on, the future for your children and grandchildren is grim. Gov. Brian Kemp said last week it is the responsibility of individuals to be prepared for these extreme climate events — make sure you have good insurance. How about the fossil fuel companies taking some responsibility since they have caused this mess! And Gov. Kemp, if you know anything about insurance, then you know when the risk gets higher the price gets higher. And there will be more issues to deal with than just loss of property! It is time for our government and the Public Service Commission to step up and cut the use of fossil fuels!