Again, all of this was over 30 years ago — 30 years! We’ve had advanced warning that global warming and its effect on our climate was already a significant threat. And what has been done about it. Sad to say, very little.
Just this year we have had massive flooding in China and Europe, another year of unprecedented wildfires in Russia and the western United States, and a “megadrought” in the western U.S. that rivals anything experienced over the past 1200 years. There has been a heat dome in the West this summer that broke temperature records, including Death Valley at 128 degrees. The excessive heat combined with falling water levels in western lakes, rivers, and streams has led to massive fish kills due to increasing water temperatures. I can continue, but I hope by now you understand that the consequences Dr. Hansen and Bill McKibben warned us about three decades ago are accelerating … rapidly.
The tragedy is that even with these ominous warnings beginning 33 years ago, we have squandered this early opportunity to aggressively work toward slowing our production of carbon emissions. We have not taken them seriously and have not treated this as the climate emergency it truly is.
Fossil fuel industries have done a good job of deflecting the harm they are doing by calling for individual action on climate change. They want Americans to feel guilty and take responsibility for climate action by walking and biking more rather than driving, eating less meat, recycling, and reducing their carbon footprints in general. And we should all be doing these things.
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