Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Every Carbon Counts! The urgency of action on reducing carbon emissions

The bottom line is Every Carbon Counts on the road to tackling climate change.  Humans' activity, primarily burning fossil fuels, is releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, intensifying nature's natural greenhouse gas effect. So ultimately, we need to recognize that every carbon we keep in the ground is precious in our pursuit to reach a threshold that will make the needed difference in our planet's future.  

The scientist are now sounding the bells and declaring that we are nearing the point of no return.  There is a tipping point for the greenhouse gas effect in our atmospheres where the heat intensifies exponentially, building upon its own strength.  And once the carbon is in the atmosphere, it takes hundreds and hundreds of years before the earth can once again capture it.  The planet has already warmed .8C and is certain to reach 1.6C.  Our current and predicted global emissions have us targeted for a 4C to 5C increase in heat that will cause unimaginable suffering for future generations. 

Science is amazingly smart about its understanding of how nature works and they know that we need to keep the carbon dioxide at 350ppm to be sure we are safe. Before the advent of manufacturing, the earth was historically around 275ppm based on precise readings from ice core samples. Well, we surpassed 400ppm marker this year and there is no end in sight.  Yet, science has calculated how much carbon needs to stay in the ground to avoid the worst of a warming planet and we've yet to figure out a plan to get it done let alone make it a priority.  

Let me start with the bad news and then end with good.  The scientists' warnings are getting drowned out by the current status quo where politicians dance around the issue, media marginalizes it, and the fossil fuel industry is the wealthiest ever known in history.  They've got people confused about who are the good people and what is really happening.  Our culture went through a very similar process back in the 1970s when it was learned that cigarettes were causing lung cancer.  The status quo did everything in their power to keep things the same and it took people quite some time to figure out what was happening.  Unfortunately, the scientist are telling us we have little time to make real changes before there is no hope.

The good news is that we do have real solutions and that our great nation is known for innovation and technology.  The use of solar and wind power is growing exponentially.  Communities all across our nation are exploring ways to be more energy efficient and to limit their carbon footprint.  People are embracing an attitude of reduce, reuse and recycle while looking for ways to live earth friendly.  People are beginning to make their voices heard that it can no longer be business as usual and that we have a real threat that requires immediate attention. The over 400,000 people who marched together through New York City in September are energized and ready for action.  

So I am sounding the alarm that the time is at hand for everyone to come aboard and take on the job of transitioning to a clean, renewable energy future.  The tine is now to get your hands dirty and do the grunt work necessary to sway public opinion, inform public policy, and minimize our carbon footprint.  I believe this may be the greatest threat ever facing humanity and will require that the citizens of the world working cooperatively together if we ever hope to succeed. And through this, we may all come to live in harmony with the sacred web of life that nourishes and sustains all living beings.  

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