Governments, corporations and individuals could cut greenhouse gas emissions today, and it would still be too late to stave off disaster. What is left to us now is mitigation and adaptation. That is the conclusion of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in an Information Statement published August 20, 2012.
Their conclusions are yet more confirmation that the dire predictions of the 1972 report, “Limits to Growth”, were accurate. The MIT researchers who prepared that publication had entered a variety of population and economic scenarios into a computer model. Most of the scenarios resulted in the same outcome: the collapse of the global economy in 2030.
The researchers did say there was a way to avoid the disaster: drastic measures to the protect the environment. Forty years later politicians are still arguing over whether or not climate change is real and human caused. Corporations are continuing to act as if resources were infinite. Consumers are still being seduced by the latest goods to hit the market.
AMS Ratchets Up the Alarm
In 2007 AMS issued a statement on climate change that concluded:
Despite the uncertainties noted above, there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond.
The note of uncertainty is gone in the 2012 statement:
There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research. The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing warming will increase risks and stresses to human societies, economies, ecosystems, and wildlife through the 21st century and beyond, making it imperative that society respond to a changing climate.
Next: Moving from Alarm to Action
For the Coming Generations
The world’s countries are still far from embracing integrated action on climate change. In the U.S. both presidential campaigns are irresponsibly quiet on an issue that should be front and center.
Sticking our heads in the proverbial sand is burning our tails. What can Care2′s concerned readers do to dip cool some of the fire? Here are five suggestions. Please weigh in with your own.
- Learn. There are a lot of sites that compile the science on climate change. Two good places to start are Skeptical Science and the Climate Reality Project.
- Act. Turning off some lights, reducing water usage and food waste, and stepping off the consumer treadmill may seem insignificant when a steamroller is headed your way. However, each act ripples outward. Tell friends what you are doing, and the ripples spread even farther.
- Vote. Vote with your dollars. Vote in elections. Vote with your strongly expressed opinions. Speak up and speak out. Hold governments, corporations, media and organizations accountable for the impact of their inaction and silence.
- Support. Join your voice with others who are working hard to educate, raise awareness, and push for action. There are many to choose from, including 350.org, David Suzuki Foundation, and For Our Grandchildren.
- Celebrate. Many people are calling for a more equitable and earth-friendly economy. You can read about some of them on Care2′s Trailblazers. They are people like Joel Solomon and Carol Newell, Bill Drayton, Cheryl Dorsey and you, the over 20 million Care2 members.
Climate change is already creating havoc around the world. It is going to cause a lot more. Together we can work for the world we want to leave for all the generations that come after us.
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