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With the indisputable evidence of on-going phenomena of escalating severity and frequency of storms, droughts, fires, and floods, the world must suddenly wake up and pay full attention to the calamitous predictions in the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to this new report, the time line for radical actions to offset virtually uncontrollable natural disasters is given as approximately 10 to 20 years -- when the average atmospheric temperature will have risen 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial times.
There are many avenues of attack to confront this natural Armageddon, whether or not they will turn the tide in humanity's favor. Good science tells us we must reduce the amount of CO2 and other pollutants we release into the atmosphere to a point where the natural systems of the Earth's environment can absorb them, thus reducing the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans, and reversing the melting of glaciers and polar ice. Science and technology tells us how to replace the sources of pollution, but establishment politics and economics resist these necessary actions, at least on a scale that could prevent our demise.
The urgency of the matter cannot wait for some of the more advanced technological solutions to be developed. Nor can it wait for the mindset of politicians, corporate heads, wall street, and economists to change from denial or passive accommodation to acknowledgement of impending reality. We need, posthaste, a new influx of intrepid world leaders, backed with the power to command the necessary actions, who recognize the absolute priority of climate-change solutions over any concerns for politics and economics, which must adapt to climate reality. We need extra-constitutional action, as in wartime. This revolutionary change can spring from the will, courage and cooperation of the mass of humanity who want the world to flourish.
The quick fix I mentioned would be only a partial cure for climate change, but would give us more time to make the necessary changes for climate modification. We could, by edict, quickly step back in time to a modified life style when the pace of industrial production and resulting pollution was significantly less. Until our polluting industries can be replaced, we could, for example, close down all such enterprises for two days every week. In addition, we could establish many environmental holidays that would limit business activity significantly, reducing pollution from commuter and shopping traffic, airlines, trucking and power sources. Studies could reveal other changes in business practices that would help the cause.
During WW2, radical changes were made to our economy as necessitated by giving all priority to war production, causing shortages and suspension of normal domestic goods and services. People accepted these deprivations patriotically as they would now to save the world. We must switch our life style and economy to a state of austerity equivalent to or beyond what was asked of the people during wartime.
What is suggested above would result in radical alterations to our economy and consumer life styles. Many people would face loss of jobs or diminished income. The world must create new opportunities for them in non-polluting green work, social services, education, personal development, community projects and leisure activities to compensate for these changes. We must learn a new art of living in the coming age of austerity, and we might discover new sources of happiness in so doing. Some solutions are suggested in earlier articles, particularly "Do We Need More Jobs?" (Part 2 of "The Case For Human Economics") .