Climate Change: Game Over or Just Beginning

James Hansen giving testimony before the Unite...

As the latest climate data reports show, the period from May 2011 to April 2012 was the warmest ever recorded in the United States. The average temperature over the 12-month stretch was nearly three degrees Fahrenheit above last century’s average. This news comes on the heals of the record-breaking heat of the warmest March on record.

And as NASA James Hansen tells us in what should be a call to action for everyone reading this op-ed in the New York Times today,

“The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.”

Hansen reiterates, as he’s told us his book, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, that if Canada continues to develop it’s tar sands extraction for fossil fuels, “it will be game over for the climate.” Hansen, being one of the world’s imminent climatologists, doesn’t choose his words lightly.

NASA Scientist James Hansen Arrested, August 2...

NASA Scientist James Hansen Arrested, August 29, 2011 Photo Credit: Ben Powless (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Club of Rome, a global network of independent thinkers, has also issued a new report this week:

The Report says the main cause of future problems is the excessively short-term predominant political and economic model. “We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view”, said Professor Randers, speaking in Rotterdam. “It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind”.

“We already live in a manner that cannot be continued for generations without major change. Humanity has overshot the earth’s resources, and in some cases we will see local collapse before 2052 – we are emitting twice as much greenhouse gas every year as can be absorbed by the world’s forests and oceans.”

So where does this leave us?  In Grist, this week, a “young, liberal, idealist” quoting a paper from 2004, pronounced the environmental movement dead. But is it really dead?

On May 5th, 350.org held a global day of action to Connect the Dots between extreme weather events and climate change. You can check out their impactful video of events from around the world below.

Further, in a ground-breaking lawsuit, teenagers are taking climate change to the courts. Katherine Ellison writes in the Atlantic that Alec Loorz, 18, “and four other juvenile plaintiffs want government officials to do more to prevent the risks of climate change — the dangerous storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, and food-supply disruptions that scientists warn will threaten their generation absent a major turnabout in global energy policy. Specifically, the students are demanding that the U.S. government start reducing national emissions of carbon dioxide by at least six percent per year beginning in 2013.

“I think a lot of young people realize that this is an urgent time, and that we’re not going to solve this problem just by riding our bikes more,” Loorz said in an interview.”

So, I would say that the in the face of this this increasingly dismal scientific data, we have no choice but to join those already taking action in the climate movement and organize together like never before- like our lives depended on it (because they pretty much do). Denial and depression or fear are emotions that we don’t have the luxury of time for.

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