The End of the World As We Know It
By Cam Mather
So here goes. I’ll probably offend some of my readers. I’ll get hate mail. I probably shouldn’t write this, but you know what? I’ve had it with humanity’s stupidity.
I’ve been watching the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane/Superstorm/Frankenstorm/Perfect Storm Sandy. The beach is now on the other side of most of New Jersey. Lots of New York was underwater including the subway and tunnels. Eight million people were without power and it’s still not on for many. The destruction is brutal.
All of this after those insane wild fires in the South. And the summer where a bazillion temperature records were broken. Oh, and that historic drought that parched so much of North America and devastated crops.
This historic flood damage comes 6 days before the US Presidential Election. And has either one of the candidates for the two parties mentioned climate change? Has anyone even suggested that this is something we should be discussing during an election? Well, no one except the Green Party, which is marginalized by mainstream media.
So what aren’t we getting about this?
This isn’t normal. Or it is the new normal, the new normal created by climate change. And it’s kind of miserable.
There were some people talking about it. New York Governor Cuomo said “We keep getting these 100 year storms… every year.” He directly related the extent of the damage to a warming planet. He said if this keeps up we’ll have to start building systems like in Holland to hold back the sea. The NBC weather guy confirmed this is climate change related. For years weather people just keep skirting around this point. Heck, even Brian Williams on NBC kept talking about climate change. They interviewed scientists with NOAA who said the oceans are getting warmer and higher which just compounds storm surges like this. The weather forecasters seemed to be in awe of the size of this storm as it rolled up the coast.
So here we have pretty much unequivocal proof that we’re causing this mess, and the one time in 4 years that we have a chance to talk about it, we don’t. Heck, elections aren’t the time to talk about controversial issues…LIKE SAVING THE SPECIES FROM EXTINCTION!!!
Even “The Economist”, the stalwart of stogy businessmen, is talking about climate change in the context of Hurricane Sandy. http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/10/hurricane-sandy#comments
And they’re saying we really NEED to do something about it. Even Businessweek Magazine got into the act this week with its cover, “It’s Global Warming Stupid.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/bloomberg-businessweek-hurricane-sandy-controversy-stupid_n_2056407.html?utm_hp_ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=110112&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief
One solution is simple. Tax carbon. Shift the onus for climate change on to the people who cause it. That would be me. I buy gasoline. I drive a car. So I should pay for pumping carbon into the atmosphere. I fully accept that. And I like the challenge of figuring out how to pump less of it. And you know what? Business people are pretty smart at this as well, and pretty quickly they’ll find ways to help us all pump out less carbon.
We just need a framework to do it. And it can’t be that hard. But to start with, we must talk about it. We must admit we have a problem and that we need to change.
And how did this happen? I watched a great “Frontline” on PBS a few weeks back called “Climate of Doubt”. You can watch it online. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/climate-of-doubt/
If you believe climate change is causing the sort of weather we’re experiencing, you’ll find this quite depressing. I kind of regretted watching it, but it shows you how a very small group of people have had a huge effect on getting the discussion of climate change off the US election table. I give them credit. They’ve been incredibly effective. And we live in a democracy and they have every right in this case to be wrong.
I just don’t know how many droughts, how many wildfires, how many broken temperature records and how many devastating hurricanes it will take before the public will rise up and say ‘enough!’ We get it already. We learned about obfuscation from the tobacco debate. And now we have 98% of climate scientists saying that climate change is real and it is a clear and present danger. So let’s get on with dealing with it.
And like Bill Maher said recently to some climate change deniers on his show, and I paraphrase, “I just don’t get how people with children can have that point of view because it’s our kids who are on the clean up crew.”
There is no time to try and muddy the waters any longer. Let’s just shift taxes from income to carbon. And admit we have a problem and try and get off fossil fuels. Fast.
Next election I’ll keep voting Green. Next time I get a hankering to drive 2 hours to Ottawa to the nearest IKEA because I think buying some stuff will cheer me up, I’m going to squash those temptations and split some firewood instead. I don’t need anymore “stuff.” I NEED to make sure I’m not leaving the gym floor a littered mess for the clean up crew.