Look out your window – lately the weather’s been CRAY. 2012 featured a number of extreme weather events, from SuperStorm Sandy to snowfall in the Middle East. Besides devastating communities and ruining infrastructure, these events have also served as a warning: the earth is getting warmer. At this point, it doesn’t matter who or what is to blame – but it’s clear we need to work to reduce emissions, prepare for dangerous climate conditions and even figure out how to prevent future warming from occurring. While geoengineering can feel like a comic-book answer to our problems, it won’t fix the behaviors that are causing this in the first place, and leads to the question: Will we really be willing to give up bacon* to save a few glaciers?
*“The trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more even than from cars, buses and airplanes” (NYT).
“Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds… Phil Adams, a retired freelance photographer from North Carolina, said he was “fairly cynical” about scientists and their theories. But he believes very much in climate change because of what he’s seen with his own eyes” (Christian Science Monitor).
“‘Each year we have extreme weather, but it’s unusual to have so many extreme events around the world at once,’ said Omar Baddour, chief of the data management applications division at the World Meteorological Organization, in Geneva. ‘The heat wave in Australia; the flooding in the U.K., and most recently the flooding and extensive snowstorm in the Middle East — it’s already a big year in terms of extreme weather calamity’” (New York Times).
“If we want to avoid large climate change we need to act now on greenhouse gases,” he said. “Global warming is not yet damaging, but if we do nothing in the coming years we will have more extreme events, droughts, storms and so on” (The Earth Institute of Columbia University).
“In his September 6 acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, President Obama — whose reticence about so much as mentioning global warming has flummoxed environmental activists — used the subject to launch an unexpected attack on his opponent. “Climate change is not a hoax,” the president declared. “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.” In the after-speech gabfest, Politico cited the moment as one of Obama’s top applause lines” (The Atlantic).
As climate change becomes less a problem for posterity and more a troubling reality, it’s time to tighten the belt on emissions for both consumers and companies. That’s if you want a belt in the future.
image via gunaxin