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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/20/19

The climate science is clear: it's now or never to avert catastrophe

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From The Guardian

Disastrous global heating will soon become irrevocable but despite politicians' inaction millions are taking to the streets to fight the planet's fever


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The one thing never to forget about global warming is that it's a timed test.

It's ignoble and dangerous to delay progress on any important issue, of course if, in 2020, America continues to ignore the healthcare needs of many of its citizens, those people will sicken, die, go bankrupt. The damage will be very real. But that damage won't make it harder, come 2021 or 2025 or 2030, to do the right thing about healthcare.

But the climate crisis doesn't work like that. If we don't solve it soon, we will never solve it, because we will pass a series of irrevocable tipping points and we're clearly now approaching those deadlines. You can tell because there's half as much ice in the Arctic, and because forests catch fire with heartbreaking regularity and because we see record deluge. But the deadlines are not just impressionistic; they're rooted in the latest science.

In the aftermath of the Paris climate accords in 2015, for instance, many researchers set 2020 as the date by which carbon emissions would need to peak if we were to have any chance of meeting the accord's goals. Here's an example of the math, from Stefan Rahmstorf and Anders Levermann. Under the most plausible scenario, they wrote, "even if we peak in 2020 reducing emissions to zero within 20 years will be required," and that is an ungodly steep slope. But if we wait past 2020 it's not a slope at all it's just a cliff, and we fall off it.

As the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres put it when she launched Mission 2020, "Everyone has a right to prosper, and if emissions do not begin their rapid decline by 2020, the world's most vulnerable people will suffer even more from the devastating impacts of climate change."

Here's another way of saying it: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported last autumn that if we hadn't managed a fundamental transformation of the planet's energy systems by 2030, our chance of meeting the Paris temperature targets is slim to none. And anyone who has ever had anything to do with governments knows: if you want something big done by 2030, you better give yourself a lot of lead time. In fact, it's possible we've waited too long: the world's greenhouse gas emissions spiked last year, and given Trump, Bolsonaro and Putin -- it's hard to imagine we won't see the same depressing thing this year.

If you're looking for optimism, at least we come into 2020 on a roll. The great climate strikes of this September were the largest demonstration of climate activism in history, with 7 million people in the street. And April 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day it could be a day for an even more massive outpouring.

The planet is running a hideous fever, and the antibodies all those protesters are finally kicking in. It's a race, and we're behind, and we better start catching up right now.

 

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Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books, including The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, he writes regularly for Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and The (more...)
 
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6 people are discussing this page, with 8 comments


Don Smith

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Where are the trolls eager to deny climate change with their fake facts and fake websites?

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 12:50:40 AM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

I am about to leave OEN, because I have been called a troll just because I've had a different opinion. My attempt to scientifically defend my view was deleted.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 1:54:28 PM

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David Wieland

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Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

So anyone not swallowing the alarmist dogma whole -- who has actually checked the data and not decided to believe what we're told we should think -- is a troll? Is it fun living in a fake world? It must be fiery hot where you are, because it's an early winter (yet again) where I am.

McKibben has made a career of being a perpetual alarmist. Praising climate protesters for loudly demanding that their government take "action" -- unspecified but terribly important, whatever it is -- is reason to worry about the future of critical thinking and public education.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 22, 2019 at 12:17:21 AM

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Starbuck

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

Welcome to the reality of left thinking David and Aleksandar. There are no opposing viewpoints. Disagree and be shouted down. To be fair, Don's hate letter is not the norm on OEN. There are more here willing to debate civilly than there are the shout down types. I've been called brainwashed once or twice but it has been the exception. I've considered leaving because today's climate has little room for civil debate anymore thanks to the likes of people like Maxine Waters and AOC. But it hasn't spilled into here quite so much yet.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 22, 2019 at 2:54:13 PM

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Lee Beacham

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Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

I'll bite....Climate change will not be a problem. It starts and stops vis nature (and you know who controls that). We'll adapt as needed to meet our expectations. No one knows the future or when the world ends. I've worked and played out doors (Golf course builder) and offshore Atlantic fishing, grew up on Fla Gulf coast. It's the same now as the 70's. Nothings changed. Clue is only Socialist wannabes are pushing this.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 22, 2019 at 9:55:32 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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Reply to Lee Beacham:   New Content

I agree with you, except this is not the job of the left. They do not have the financial power to promote such a scam. The elite did it to profit. They plan to earn money with it and to prevent the development of the rest of the world. Also, they like dividing people because then they control them easier.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 11:47:01 AM

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911TRUTH

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Capitalist is designed to destroy itself, and us, in the process.

Like the saying goes: A capitalist is someone who will gladly sell the hangman the rope that will be used to hang him.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 4:23:21 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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Rob Kall is not an honourable person

Three days ago, I discovered that Lance Ciepiela is a machine that propagates views of the elites here at OEN in the comments of articles. This machine is not capable of performing communication with people; it responds to specific words such as "9/11" with a prepared text. According to Lance, he is a retired Marine veteran. I am positive that he is not capable of setting a robot. The elite must stand behind him. They only have money to propagate anything.

Rob Kall reacted to my discovery furiously. He deleted the post with my proof about the robot reaction of Lance and wrote to me: "The reason for your re-flagging is: Inappropriate Content - Warning, we have a Zero tolerance policy for attacking volunteer editors. Consider this your only warning."

At first, I was shocked, but then my eyes have opened. Lance Ciepela is not a volunteer editor. The elite paid him to contribute to OEN, and he is financially well capable of supporting OEN. This must be the reason why Rob is so mad at me.

Then Rob showed me how serious his threat is by messing up the titles of my two articles here at OEN. Now the articles look undesirable to read. Please check it up: Equal human rights will build a good society unconditionally, and Full employment is a turning point of capitalism. This is really low. I asked Rob to fix them, but he ignored my request.

Rob will ban me from OEN after this post, but I am no more willing to contribute with my articles here anyway.

The elite support politicians, scientists, and media that follow their agenda and prevent others from telling the truth. As a result, you people think the way the elite made you think, and when you decide to rebel against the elite, you cannot succeed in it because the elite made you incapable of winning them. This is the main reason why nothing can change.

If you want to read the truth, you may find it at my web sites www.sarovic.com and www.sarovic.org.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 4:22:38 AM

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