August 1, 2008

Will the world end with a whimper? You decide.

The clock is ticking. There are 100 months left from today until the Earth's climate reaches a tipping point where the greenhouse gases we humans have put into the atmosphere will provoke changes that will be beyond our power to undo, even if we stopped polluting. The only solution is to scale back emissions to sustainable levels before the tipping point is reached.

If you think this is the scaremongering strategy of a campaign group, then you are correct. One hundred months is a shocking and precise deadline to wake people up. But the calculation is a conservative one and is based on the very deep understanding of feedback systems influencing the climate built up over decades. Andrew Simms, of the alliance behind the campaign, explains more in today's Guardian at:

Here is an extract:

---extract from the Andrew Simms article
For once it seems justified to repeat TS Eliot's famous lines: "This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper."

But does it have to be this way? Must we curdle in our complacency and allow our cynicism about politicians to give them an easy ride as they fail to act in our, the national and the planet's best interest? There is now a different clock to watch than the one on the office wall. Contrary to being a counsel of despair, it tells us that everything we do from now matters. And, possibly more so than at any other time in recent history.

---extract ends

Grasping at bogus claims that temperature increases are due to the sun and all planets are getting hotter (they are not) or seeing climate change as an Illuminati plot for introducing a fascist global state are some of the obstacles to action I've written about here recently.

A more mainstream obstacle is the fear that action will harm the economy. Hence instead of taking the type of action proposed in the Guardian article, the UK Prime Minister has been advocating increased oil production to try to bring down fuel prices.

This is how the world ends.

There are clear, thought through, evidence-based actions we can take as individuals, governments and the global community. We need to press ahead and support campaigns like One Hundred Months. Visit their site to sign up for monthly updates:

Also check out the iCount website, which has a current action against the building of coal-fired power stations in the UK. We need investment in renewables. We need changes in lifestyle. In the longer term there are proposals for solar power stations in North African deserts that could meet all of Europe's energy needs.

The solutions exist - all that is missing is the will to act.

In parallel to these campaign actions, you can sign up as a Simultaneous Policy Adopter and use your vote and voice in the development of a coherent set of policies for addressing climate change, trade injustice, unsustainablity and other problems requiring a global response. Call on your politicians to sign the pledge to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments. You can send a message to the US Presidential candidates using this form:

Will the world end with a whimper? You decide.

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