The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fifth report on Sept. 30, and it seems to reinforce what previous assessments have been telling us: that climate change is real and accelerating; that it is largely human driven; and, with even greater emphasis, that the window of time to avert the worst climate change scenarios is rapidly closing.
The IPCC report also offers alternative scenarios for the future. The scenario that offers the best hope of avoiding the most catastrophic consequences is one that limits the overall global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less. Achieving that goal, however, will require the concerted action of the world to urgently address solutions that must include: accelerating the transition to clean energy; ramping up efforts to reduce energy waste; and, perhaps most importantly, leaving the majority of the remaining fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) in the ground.
Given the wealth and power wielded by the fossil fuel industry, this last goal may be the most daunting, but I was intrigued by Russ Donnelly’s recent letter to The Bulletin (Sept. 29) that reported on Citizen Climate Lobby’s efforts to promote one promising solution that appears to be gathering momentum and bipartisan support: a progressive, revenue neutral tax on carbon. Well worth supporting in my opinion, especially if combined with phasing out the billions we’re currently spending to subsidize fossil fuel production.
Whatever solutions you support, do something! And make sure that something includes letting Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Greg Walden know just how important this issue is to you — to all of us.