Item Link: Access the Resource
Media Type: News / Op - Ed
Date of Publication: November 16, 2018
Year of Publication: 2018
Author(s): Kim Stanley Robinson
Newspaper: BuzzFeed News
As we head for the edge of a climate change cliff, neoliberal market capitalism is chewing up the biosphere and the lives of everyone in it. But it’s not too late to act.
A recent report released by the International Panel on Climate Change reaffirmed what everyone already knows: We are in big trouble. The billions of tons of greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels have put us on pace for a 1.5-degree Celsius rise in global average temperatures within the next two decades, which would move us beyond humanity’s ability to claw back to any kind of normalcy without extraordinary measures. It’s quite possible we could trigger the sixth great mass extinction event in Earth’s history, a catastrophe that would inevitably hammer human civilization and endanger billions of lives. Even rich people will be affected — there’ll be no escaping, not even in New Zealand, not even to Mars.
I first became aware of all this when I visited Antarctica in 1995. There was still plenty of ice down there, of course. But all the scientists there were already talking about climate change, describing to each other and to me the growing body of evidence that the world was warming as a result of our dumping of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I realized that even I had witnessed some of this evidence; the little glaciers I had been visiting in California’s Sierra Nevada were all about half the size they had been when I first saw them in the early 1970s. That was a small part of something much larger. Climate change was really happening, the scientists told me, but the news wasn’t spreading or having an effect.
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