Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Chair Hoesung Lee, center, speaks during a press conference in Incheon, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, an international panel of scientists reported Sunday. But they provide little hope the world will rise to the challenge. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Painful Truth: Are we wise enough to avoid climate catastrophe?

I’m not hopeful we’ll escape the rising temperatures of global climate change.

Are we all going to die?

I mean, not right away. A dozen years, give or take, before things go off the rails and we start to have to really worry about survival in a way we haven’t before.

According to a new UN report on climate change, we have as little as 12 years to slash global emissions by 45 per cent, which should head off the worst of a further 1.5 degrees Celsius in global warming.

If you don’t think human caused global warming is real, well, I really don’t care what you think. You’re not helping. Go away.

For the rest of us, this is alarming. Can we slash global carbon emissions by almost half in a little more than a decade?

Yes. It’s physically possible.

Is it politically possible?

I don’t know. I fear it isn’t, and that we’ll spend the next decade fiddling while Rome burns (possibly literally) and then the decade after that assigning blame.

And then things will get worse. Most of us who are middle-aged and older will only see the early stages of how bad things could get. Massive droughts. melting permafrost and polar ice caps. A significant rise in sea levels (goodbye, Florida, Bangladesh, and coastal communities everywhere in between). Mass extinctions. Crop failures. Refugee crises, one after another.

To avert this scenario, we have to change our society top to bottom. We have to convert a worldwide fleet of billions of cars, trucks, and buses to electric power as fast as possible. We have to switch generation from coal and oil to renewables such as solar. We have to protect forests. We will have to tax the heck out of carbon emissions, which will make travel and trade much more expensive. And governments would have to invest in expensive, and largely experimental, technologies to extract carbon from the atmosphere.

I don’t think we’ll do it. I don’t think national governments will be able to see past their self-interests, I don’t think voters will pick the survival of their children over a nice truck and cheap gas. I think we’re doomed.

I hope I’m wrong. I’d like to be proven wrong. But what is there in human history that suggests we’ll get out of this one okay?

Just Posted

How the Grinch stole a Langley senior’s Christmas

Mary Kydd said her car was broken into at her apartment’s underground parking garage last week.

Langley family lights up the holidays

“Christmas at the Carlsons” is a light display with music

Last-minute gift giving can help Langley charities, too

Calendar, bears, and ornament sales all help local charities and causes abroad

Road to the World Juniors leads through Langley

Finland plays Denmark on Wednesday, United States takes on Czech Republic on Saturday

New Langley biker club has links to Hells Angels: police

The Street Reapers were formed late last year and have been seen in Fort Langley.

‘Are we going to play?’ Alberta boy with rare illness no big deal for classmates

Porter Stanley is one of 30 people in the world to be diagnosed with Beare-Stevenson syndrome, a craniofacial disorder.

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

Watchdog called after man says Coquitlam cop shut car door on his leg

The Independent Investigations Office is probing an incident that occurred in Coquitlam last weekend

10-lane George Massey bridge too big, B.C. study says

Consultants say replacement tunnel cost similar to new bridge

Couple caught up in B.C. Legislature bomb plot to learn their fate

John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested as part of an undercover RCMP sting on Canada Day 2013

Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch ‘Bambi’

Sentence comes from one of the largest deer poaching cases in state history

Most Read