14 October 2018

All Sorts of Reactions to the IPCC 1.5ºC Report — Except the Right One

If I don't talk this week about last Sunday's release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Global Warming of 1.5ºC Report, I could possibly be the only armchair pundit who doesn't. So I will, but only to let you know my thoughts and feelings about the reaction to the report.

Although I live in the bubble of environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and enviro activists, it was impossible not to hear President T**** admit that he hadn't looked at it. "It was given to me. And I want to look at who drew it. You know, which group drew it. I can give you reports that are fabulous and I can give you reports that aren't so good," he said. I wonder where he gets his "fabulous" reports from. 

(This report was prepared by over 90 scientists from 40 countries who synthesized over 6,000 scientific references. It was then approved by all the governments in the world, although I heard from someone who was there that the US and Saudi Arabia and a handful of other countries threw up lots of roadblocks to that approval.)

Unlike their president, Republican politicians in the United States did have opinions — fatuous though they were. As reported by the Huffington Post, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said, "They might as well be calling on me to sprout wings and fly to Canada for the summer," and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said of the actions urged by the report: "It's totally unrealistic. They must have parachuted in from another planet. There's not enough money in the world to pay for that. That's the problem with the UN that they come up with these policy ideas that are just 'La La Land.'" 

And yet President T**** is bragging these days (at the La La Land UN) that he just upped the US military budget to over $700 billion, an increase of 10%. So there's money enough for threatening, invading, killing, maiming, and destroying, but not for safeguarding life. Funny that.

Oh, and let's not forget the $5.3 trillion (TRILLION!) in direct and indirect subsidies that we taxpayers give to fossil fuel corporations every year. So there's money enough for coal, oil, gas, pollution, but not for the renewable energy technologies that could safeguard life. Funny that.

But I found the hardest part of this week were the responses of ordinary people like you and me who understand the climate crisis, who care about the climate crisis, who would perhaps call themselves climate change activists, but who are taking this report as a signal to stand down. I can't believe how many are giving up. Guy McPherson is in vogue again with his abrupt climate change "It's too late" message, so "live, love, and aim for excellence" (as one online commenter suggested to me). (By the way, there's nothing "abrupt" about this. We've known about it since at least the 1800s.)

Well, NO, damn it! I'm not giving up or giving in. I don't want to live excellently; I want my niece and all the beloved kids in my life to live, period. If we're going down, I want to go down swinging. I am going to carry on believing in the possibility of miracles through imagination and creative problem solving. I'm going to keep believing in the power of love and compassion to show our leaders that their own offspring will be impacted. I'm going to keep trying to teach ecological literacy and connecting with the rest of Nature. I'm going to keep seeing the potential for a return to simpler ways and a huge global race to zero carbon. Until my last breath. 

I believe that's the right reaction to the IPCC's 1.5ºC Report. For the sake of all the children, of all species, for all time.

p.s. I liked this article: Do we need an IPCC special report for humans?

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?