So the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just released part 1 of its 5th Assessment Report. It concludes:
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.
Here’s what the temperature rises look like graphically
Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
So what do we do with this?
First, it’s time to stop pretending there is a genuine debate to be had. The IPCC report is not the ramblings of a few mad people at the United Nations. It is the attempt to synthesise the research of scientists around the world. This report drew on 9200 scientific papers. It represents the scientific consensus. We should be thoroughly disabused of the notion that there is a scientific debate as to whether human induced climate change is occuring. There isn’t. Climate sceptics are entitled to their opinions but they are not entitled to pretend there is a scientific debate going on. They should be given the same accord in public debate and policy making that we give to those who argue children should not be vaccinated. I respect their right to their opinion but at the end of the day it is misinformed and dangerous nonsense that should be ignored by policy makers. The reality is that our best scientific minds have looked at the data and the overwhelming agreement among them, among thousands of them, is that we are headed towards a self-inflicted disaster.
Second, we must demand that our leaders look beyond the next election and take this issue with the seriousness it deserves. We need them to lead public opinion, not follow it. The scientists have spoken loudly and unequivocally. Now we need our leaders to act decisively and unequivocally. The government’s direct action policy is simply not good enough. It is unlikely to achieve even its hopelessly modest target of a 5% reduction in emissions and represents a retreat from serious engagement.
Third, we each need to take this issue with the seriousness it deserves. It’s like we are all on board a train headed for a cliff and most of us are pretending that everything is fine. We look out the windows and see magnificent vistas and everything seems fine. We look around to see people laughing and chatting and everything seems fine. From time to time we get interrupted by some technician telling us the bridge has collapsed, but then we hear some shock jock say that it hasn’t, and it all seems too difficult, and besides everything is fine…say, have you seen the magnificent view?
It’s the responsibility of every generation to leave the world a better place than it found it. At the moment we’re failing dismally and history will judge us harshly.
To take action visit www.hopeforcreation.com.au