Year 4, Month 10, Day 5: A Fine Roll Of Honour

The Hattiesburg American (MS) reprints a USA Today article on the IPCC report:

The panel releases reports every few years that synthesize the latest in peer-reviewed research, and its fifth assessment – to be released in several parts over the coming year – is the first since 2007.

This assessment is likely to paint a dire portrait of climate change. Yet some scientists say it actually underestimates the problem. Kevin Schaefer of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., says it doesn’t, for example, include the increasing greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost, which is perennially frozen ground in Alaska and other Arctic regions.

The State Department’s Climate Action Report, updated every four years as part of the U.N.’s monitoring of global efforts, agrees that the challenges ahead are formidable. “Climate change represents one of the greatest challenges of our time,” it says.

Nobody wants to talk about it, but it’s all there is to talk about. September 27:

There are more than enough inadequacies to go around when it comes to our collective response to climate change. When the best the most powerful nation on Earth can offer is a “dent” in its emissions goals, that’s pathetic. And when the IPCC report, hailed as a “blockbuster,” turns out to understate multiple aspects of the problem (Arctic methane release being the most terrifying of a very bad lot), that’s a sobering realization. But the capper comes in the State Department’s polite characterization of the climate crisis as representing “…one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

What a sadly tentative statement. All other challenges — ending slavery, expanding the franchise, empowering women, addressing income inequality, stopping child labor, wiping out epidemic diseases — are contingent on a stable environment. Our climate is the canvas upon which great humanitarians throughout history have painted their visions of a better future; destroy that through the irresponsible consumption of fossil fuels, and all our species’ aspirations will be replaced by the grim imperatives of survival on a planet turned hostile.

If we fail to address climate change, we fail at everything.

Warren Senders

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