This is not breaking news. Smoke is now a regular feature of summer here in the American West. These semi-apocalyptic scenarios, which include fires, rising seas and floods, drought, and extinction, will become a horrible “normal” unless governments act at an alarming pace to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel pollution in our lifetimes.
These numbers may sound abstract but they are the key to how the world feels for us and future generations. The keys to whether New York is under water or whether the Amazon drys up; whether the West is still habitable and whether Every year, millions of people worldwide die from fossil-fuel poisoning
. Climate change is a complex game with probabilities, but the underlying truth cannot be denied: We must stop burning fossil energy — coal, oil and natural gas — as soon possible. We need to reduce pollution to avoid more warming and lower the risk of becoming a catastrophe.
The new thing is that the world is becoming more aware of these dangers. They are present in our daily lives.
We are also smart enough to see that this is not the case. Our fault.
For decades, politicians and fossil fuel companies have promoted the false narrative that if there was a shortage of fossil-fuels, then there would be no need to worry. We
Change your lifestyle: Drive electric cars, fly less and eliminate beef from your diet — that’s how to change your habits. They
You don’t have to make major changes to the economy. Individual actions matter because they can reduce emissions and they can connect us to a huge global crisis. All of that is great. It is not enough. It’s not enough to fight the climate crisis at the scale required
The narrative must shift from one that focuses on individual responsibility (if this lightbulb is turned off, I’m saving planet), to one that emphasizes corporate and government accountability. This means that the United States has to force Congress into enacting comprehensive climate legislation. According to the science, Biden’s administration says it intends to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. The lawmakers will be required to get us there. However, they have not shown the willingness (or ability) to make these changes.
To be considered at the international climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland later in the year, the United States must take significant legislative steps. The current focus is on a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which includes a Clean Electricity Standard along with other strong climate provisions
. A national carbon tax, which could make polluting much more expensive, would be better.
It appears that Americans are aware of the urgency. An estimated52% of Americans think that global warming should have a high priority for Congress, the president, and the people.
According to a Yale Program on Climate Change Communication 2020 National Survey, it is.
This struggle must be joined by more people who place institutional accountability above individual behavior. Without constant pressure from citizens, governments or corporations will continue doing the same thing for decades — claiming they support clean energies while continuing to emit deadly pollutants into this atmosphere.
It’s not unusual to look out at wildfire smoke, record temperatures or severe storms and think “this can’t be done.” It’s not impossible. It’s not your fault. Please remove these thoughts from your head.
Instead, you can pressure your government to end fossil fuel era. Depending on your political beliefs, you might join national or local groups advocating a carbon-neutral future. Check out solutions like those provided by the non-profit Project Drawdown
. Tell your US senators by writing or calling them and requesting that they vote on climate.
This is a “Code red
As the UN secretary-general recently stated, it’s a “moment for humanity”. It’s also an opportunity for humans to prove that we can create a safer and more healthy future.