By Not Acting Now, We also Waste Away the Right to a Good Life for our Children
“The jury has reached a verdict and it is damning. We are on a fast track to climate disaster. … It is time to stop burning our planet and start investing in the abundant renewable energy all around us.” – an excerpt from a message from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by the latest climate emergency report released by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Posted April 10th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
Of all the pressing problems we now face in this world – from affordable housing and galloping inflation to COVID-18 and the war crimes in the Ukraine – there is one that will continue to ravage life on this planet for generations to come if we don’t take decisive action to solve it now.
That problem is climate change and in yet another detailed report released this April 4th by scientists working under the umbrella of the Unite Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, we have been presented with one of the starkest warnings yet that we are on the road to a global meltdown if we continue to deny, delay or lie our way out of addressing this most perilous or problems.
As we approach the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day on this coming Friday, April 22nd, one of this aging environment reporter’s worst fears is that other pressing problems like the pandemic and the war Putin ignited in eastern Europe has put all of the attention and energy that the climate crisis finally began to receive before the COVID-19 plague began on the backburner.
Thanks to a heroic teenager named Greta Thunberg and to multi-millions of other young people around the world, and to all of us older people who made a genuine effort to support them, we entered this decade of the 21st century with legions of people, marching in the streets of cities and towns around the world for governments to finally act on what is already unfolding as code-red climate emergency.
When the dark clouds of the COVID plague swept over us, those great marches for action all but ended even as – as recently as this past year we could turn on the news almost any day of the week and witness the destructive impacts of unprecedented wind storms, floods, droughts and wildfires that, in some cases, wiped out whole communities.
At the same time, we have our own federal government in Canada table a budget this first week of April that continues to subsidies the production of climate-ravaging fossil fuel operations, and a Premier in Ontario who can’t build enough highways, and too many politicians and planning staff at the municipal level who continue to allow development that wipes out woodlands, wetlands and food-growing lands.
Right her in Niagara, Ontario we have volunteer citizens still fighting Dave vs. Goliath battles to save significant natural assets like Waverly Woods in Fort Erie and the Thundering Waters Forest and its bevy of provincially significant wetlands in Niagara Falls from predatory developers.
We have a Niagara regional government that continues to consider proposals to expand urban boundaries into rural areas that hose what is left of our green resources.
There are good municipal councillors fighting such plans and proposals, that should have been buried in graves in the last century, but unfortunately there are still not enough of them and the staff our municipalities and other government bodies need to make sound, 21st century planning decisions.
So here we are, and it is our children and grandchildren who will suffer the most if we don’t clean up our act now.
Will we? I am sorry to say that approaching the even of this Earth Day, I am not sure.
Now here is a statement the United Nation’s Secretary-General issued as a warning this past April 4th, followed by links to the April 4th report released by scientists for the U.N.s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) –
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Warns of Climate Emergency, Calling Intergovernmental Panel’s Report ‘a File of Shame’, While Saying Leaders ‘Are Lying’, Fuelling Flames
“Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message on the launch of the third Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, in New York today:
The jury has reached a verdict. And it is damning. This report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world.
We are on a fast track to climate disaster. Major cities under water. Unprecedented heat waves. Terrifying storms. Widespread water shortages. The extinction of a million species of plants and animals. This is not fiction or exaggeration. It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies.
We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris. Some Government and business leaders are saying one thing, but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic. This is a climate emergency.
Climate scientists warn that we are already perilously close to tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate impacts. But, high‑emitting Governments and corporations are not just turning a blind eye, they are adding fuel to the flames.
They are choking our planet, based on their vested interests and historic investments in fossil fuels, when cheaper, renewable solutions provide green jobs, energy security and greater price stability.
We left COP26 [twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] in Glasgow with a naïve optimism, based on new promises and commitments. But, the main problem — the enormous, growing emissions gap — was all but ignored. The science is clear: to keep the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris within reach, we need to cut global emissions by 45 per cent this decade.
But, current climate pledges would mean a 14 per cent increase in emissions. And most major emitters are not taking the steps needed to fulfil even these inadequate promises.
Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But, the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.
Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness. Such investments will soon be stranded assets — a blot on the landscape and a blight on investment portfolios. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Today’s report is focused on mitigation — cutting emissions. It sets out viable, financially sound options in every sector that can keep the possibility of limiting warming to 1.5°C alive.
First and foremost, we must triple the speed of the shift to renewable energy. That means moving investments and subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables — now. In most cases, renewables are already far cheaper. It means Governments ending the funding of coal, not just abroad, but at home.
It means climate coalitions, made up of developed countries, multilateral development banks, private financial institutions and corporations, supporting major emerging economies in making this shift. It means protecting forests and ecosystems as powerful climate solutions. It means rapid progress in reducing methane emissions. And it means implementing the pledges made in Paris and Glasgow.
Leaders must lead. But, all of us can do our part. We owe a debt to young people, civil society and indigenous communities for sounding the alarm and holding leaders accountable. We need to build on their work to create a grass‑roots movement that cannot be ignored.
If you live in a big city, a rural area or a small island State; if you invest in the stock market; if you care about justice and our children’s future; I am appealing directly to you: demand that renewable energy is introduced now — at speed and at scale; demand an end to coal-fired power; demand an end to all fossil fuel subsidies.
Today’s report comes at a time of global turbulence. Inequalities are at unprecedented levels. The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is scandalously uneven. Inflation is rising, and the war in Ukraine is causing food and energy prices to skyrocket. But, increasing fossil‑fuel production will only make matters worse.
Choices made by countries now will make or break the commitment to 1.5°C . A shift to renewables will mend our broken global energy mix and offer hope to millions of people suffering climate impacts today. Climate promises and plans must be turned into reality and action, now. It is time to stop burning our planet and start investing in the abundant renewable energy all around us.”
For a link to the IPPC report, click on – https://report.ipcc.ch/ar6wg3/pdf/IPCC_AR6_WGIII_FinalDraft_FullReport.pdf
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