Two planets are talking to each other. One looks like a beautiful blue marble and the other a dirty brown ball.
“What on earth happened to you?” the beautiful planet asks the brown one.
“I had Homo sapiens,” answers the brown planet.
“Don’t worry,” says the blue planet. “They don’t last long.”
That's a joke from the climate summit in Glasgow where, as noted by Thomas Friedman, the mood is generally dire.
The evidence on Climate Change was overwhelming when we signed the Paris Climate Accords in 2012 and even more so when Trump and his ilk tore up those accords in 2017 and now, on the cusp of 2022, the evidience that this planet is heading for a horrific crisis is incontravertable and there are no more deniers – just blamers.
What there are still not is fixers – no one is doing enough to address this crisis and it's gotten to the point where you have to consider that it's too late to stop the Global Warming that will have catastrophic effects on our environment so perhaps the money is better spent moving the human race underground or something – to hopefully live out the damage in a cooler environment. Why waste money preventing a catastrophe we can no longer avoid, right?
"When you see how hard it’s been for governments to get their citizens to just put on a mask in stores, or to get vaccinated, to protect themselves, their neighbors and their grandparents from being harmed or killed by Covid-19, how in the world are we going to get big majorities to work together globally and make the lifestyle sacrifices needed to dampen the increasingly destructive effects of global warming — for which there are treatments but no vaccine?" – Friedman
The United Nations climate agency on Wednesday released a draft of an accord that urges countries to “revisit and strengthen” in the next year their plans for cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The document marks an initial agreement among some 200 nations that will be used as a template to strike a deal as the two-week global climate summit in Glasgow nears its end Friday.
Lack of firm deadlines and enforcement mechanisms in the document pointed to the hurdles ahead as negotiators try to reach a consensus at the summit known as COP26, where a primary goal is to agree on stronger action to keep the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to preindustrial levels. Beyond that threshold, scientists say, the likelihood significantly increases of deadly heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and species extinction. The planet has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius – doubling since 2000.
"Too little, too late" say the protestors at the summit. On Tuesday, United Nations researchers released a report that found that under countries’ current pledges to reduce emissions, the Earth is on track to warm about 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit), a full degree beyond the goal outlined in the draft. UN Secretary General Guterres said that the world was “careening towards climate catastrophe.”
I wonder what's on TV this evening…
That's right, most of us are going to read this and go back to our daily lives. There was a poll that said 2/3 of the people in the US think Global Warming is a major crisis that needs to be addressed but the same poll asked them if they would contribute $100 to fight global warming and they said "NO!" So we are asking our politicians to fix the problem – with whatever they can find at the Dolllar Store….
We all have to change the way we live if we want this to work. Take meat-eating. Animal agriculture, especially cattle production, is among the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Even if all the fossil fuel executives were held guilty of fraud and negligence tomorrow and their companies’ profits poured into a sweeping energy transition, we would still need to shift away from meat-heavy diets. “If we don’t reduce emissions from agriculture, we’re not going to be able to hit climate targets even if we get it exactly right on fossil fuels,” a policy expert from the World Resources Institute recently told The Washington Post.
Other changes that will eventually be required to balance human appetites against the health of the planet may be even tougher. Taking the bus or train can be a pain – especially vs flying on trips under 500 miles – but we need to do that.. Skipping beach vacations for climate reasons? That can feel like a real sacrifice (first-world problem though it is). Having one fewer child? For many people, that’s taking things too far – but China enforced it for years.
Not adding 2Bn people more consumers to the planet over the next 50 years would go a long way to helping the climate situation. There were 1Bn of us humans on the planet in 1800, 2Bn in 1900, 2.5Bn in 1960 but then we stopped killing each other for a bit and suddenly 8Bn people in 2021. Population growth seems to be slowing but we're still on pace for way too many people (we already have way too many) in just 28 more years – WAY too many….
Something is going to break. Either the economy as we try to address these problems or the planet if we don't. At the moment, most people are choosing to let the planet take the fall while they keep making money in the last days of Rome – smart….