The Climate Doesn’t Sleep

As more and more nations wake up to the realization that what we are doing to our climate will have severe consequences, it seems the challenge gets ever more daunting. The United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference 2015 begins in less than a month and recent news and disclosures have made their task all the more difficult. It is no secret the science community has been largely skeptical that these talks will bring about meaningful and substantial enough change, in a timely enough fashion, to ease some of the consequences of what climate change looks to be bringing us.

The revelations coming to our attention recently are both disheartening and disturbing.

Revelations include, on the corporate side, the likes of Volkswagen and Exxon caught deceiving the public about emissions and consequences. VW falsifying their vehicles to be much cleaner than they are — millions of them — while Exxon appears to have known back in the late 70’s that burning fossil fuels could lead to climate change, and not only tried to bury that fact, but actively lobbied and advertised against it.

To think there aren’t a multitude of companies (and countries) who put profits ahead of damage to the environment and our climate would be naive at best. It continues.

Larger than that, China just confessed to burning much more coal every year than it had previously let onto. The unreported amount added up to more energy usage than all of Germany produces in a year, or 70% of the U.S. annual coal consumption. This is no small insignificant amount of CO2 production, one that the climate scientists were unaware of.

At the same time we have been experiencing wild fires all over the globe. Alaska, Canada, the western US, Australia…the list goes on and so does the CO2. Then there is the hugely under reported, mostly deliberate, massive fires in Indonesia which are not only polluting the air throughout much of Asia, but are currently releasing more CO2 than the total being released by the United States, or in three weeks time, produces more than the annual production of CO2 in Germany.

When you couple all that with the Arctic (warming twice as fast as the rest of the earth) which as it warms we see it beginning to release copious quantities of methane, it is almost as if things could not get worse. Not only does methane trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere many times more effectively than CO2, but as the permafrost melts, the methane would also double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Those attending the Paris Climate talks need to understand that the stakes are already out of hand. They need to take real action that will actually make a difference. They need everyone’s pressure and support now, not a generation from now. This is when we still have time to make a difference. If the whole world gets behind solutions, then it can only be a plus for the global economy and jobs. If the world doesn’t find solutions quickly, then life, over generations to come, will only become harder and crueler, and that’s just for starters.

You can only fall asleep at the wheel so long before a crash is imminent. Go Paris Go! A world depends on it!

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