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Climate Change Report Sounds Alarm for Planet Earth
by Robert C. Koehler
"We cannot afford to lose another decade."
My God. There's more darkness in this quote than The
Suddenly, 10 years felt vital, alive with possibility. Edenhofer wasn't referring to some abstract decade embedded in the history of the human race, or the history of the planet, but 10 years gouged out of our own lifetimes and certainly out of our children's lifetimes. We can't afford to lose . . . 10 years of breath and heartbeat.
What Edenhofer meant, of course, was that we can't afford to squander another decade politically, with the governments of the nations that comprise Planet Earth failing to come up with an effective treaty to control greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and other reckless excesses of industrial-growth capitalism, a.k.a., addiction to endless profit. We've got, you know, a 15-year window here to act with collective sanity. That's all the time we have left, according to current scientific consensus, to limit planetary warming to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.
"Beyond that increase, the world could face truly alarming consequences." So the Times informs us, then, I fear, yawns, shrugs. Oh yeah, these international conferences are "exercises in futility" that so far have produced just one treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, which didn't accomplish much, which the
What the Times editorial, in all its liberal consternation, fails to say is that the kind of global change that's needed can't be left to -- will not be -- implemented by the designated representatives of world governments, most of which are beholden far, far, far more to economic and military special interests than they are to the future of the human race.
Consider nothing more than the environmental costs of the U.S. commitment to military hegemony and endless war. Not only do we shatter countries and kill and displace people by the millions in pursuit of a neocolonial agenda, we . . . waste gas, in staggering gulps.
"Even setting aside the accelerated operational tempo of wartime, the
Furthermore, according to the report, U.S. war games in
But the military gets a free pass in the mainstream media. Its toxic adventurism never comes up in connection with discussions about climate change and other environmental matters. Such concerns are confined to their own special category, which never threatens business as usual.
And of course business as usual is what has to be not merely threatened but upended. This is what's missing from the national hand-wringing over climate change. As
"End the dishonesty, the deception. Stop lying to yourselves, and to your children. Stop pretending that the crisis can be 'solved,' that the planet can be 'saved,' that business more-or-less as usual -- what progressives and environmentalists have been doing for forty-odd years and more -- is morally or intellectually tenable. Let go of the pretense that 'environmentalism' as we know it -- virtuous green consumerism, affluent low-carbon localism, head-in-the-sand conservationism, feel-good greenwashed capitalism -- comes anywhere near the radical response our situation requires."
Stephenson's recommendation: Forget about
"I'm talking about a struggle," he says, and he's right, up to a point. If all we did was read The
But struggle and anger alone won't do it. We need intense activism along with structural analysis and the building of alternative, sustainable lifestyles. We need wisdom, reverence and creativity that we pull up from the depths of our uncertainty. Author
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Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Media Services Inc.
"Climate Change Report Sounds Alarm for Planet Earth "