Saturday, 6 July 2013

As clear as it gets

Some thoughts on what we know and what we let ourselves accept. 

Last year, a World Bank report suggested the world may warm by four degrees this century, possibly as early as 2060. It’s unclear whether humanity would be able to adapt to a four degree global temperature rise. It's likely our global civilisation wouldn't.

Another bunch of radicals, global accounting firm PwC, have pointed to a catastrophic future unless drastic action is taken now. They suggest we should be preparing for up to six degrees warming.

As you were.

And the same story is being told, albeit without the coverage it deserves, in some of the world's most respected news publications: The Guardian, The New York Times, The Age.

Go about your business.

This all sounds like serious stuff to me. The fact that it comes from such mainstream sources should really spur us into action. A former United Nations climate chief recently announced that the next UN climate report will “scare the wits out of everyone” and “provide the impetus needed for the world to finally…tackle global warming”.

I’d love if this were true but I’ve got a horrible feeling it won’t. Why do we keep thinking better, more scary science will do the trick? It hasn’t worked to date. Really, how scary do you think it needs to be before it significantly changes anything? 

For me, it passed that point long ago. Now I wonder if waiting for 'the science' to come in is an excuse for inaction: politically, culturally and personally.

Arctic permafrost video frame grabs. Pic Supplied Ben Cubby story
Please ignore the melting permafrost on your way past.
Source: The Age

Nothing to see here.

Fact is, it’s there. The reality of what's happening is looking us right in the face - screaming at us. We need to stop pretending that we need more information, or science, or data or stats or facts or graphs or business cases. I’m sorry if you’ve been waiting for some kind of alarm, or fireworks, or official letter or something. But this is what it looks like. This is pretty much as clear as it gets without being over.