The Big Crisis Update

Mary Ewell Climate Change

The Climate Crisis is the greatest challenge facing mankind, it justifies regular updates:

  • Carbon Dioxide level: 410 PPM (up 10 PPM since 2015 and dangerously above the average for millennium- 280 PPM) SCORE: Alarming- this increasing rate increases temperatures; we’re approaching tipping points where it gets worse faster.
  • Global Temperatures (average land & sea): increasing, last year was 1.42 degrees F above last century’s average, the 4th warmest on record (9 of 10 warmest have been since 2005). SCORE: Alarming (warm air holds more moisture)!
  • Weather disasters:
    • Frequency (yearly average)- increasing, between 1980-2015 the US saw 5 events causing over $1BN in damages. Between 2016-18 we saw 15!
    • Financial losses- increasing, insured losses have grown 20 times since the 1970’s to an average of $465Bn this decade. Last year it was $85Bn with no mega disaster; more Alarming- uninsured losses grew faster, reaching $1.2 Trillion.
    • Predictability- harder; while newer models attempt to consider climate change, most rely on data from past decades which is already obsolete. The scale is unprecedented: so far this year Hurricanes Dorian (one of largest to make landfall) & Barry (heaviest rainfall ever in Arkansas); three huge cyclones in India and violent wildfires in California, Australia, and now in Alaska and Siberia. SCORE: Alarming!  Carbon Roulette a very dangerous and expensive problem that’s getting worse.

This is about facts, science and the growing risks to children. Greenhouse gasses from burning fossil fuels clog our atmosphere, raise temperatures and disrupt weather. The Lancet medical journal reports that children in a warmer world will be hit by more and different health problems. A co author stated “I cannot think of a greater health emergency”.

Sadly, this has become political, largely based on vast sums of money from the fossil fuel industry. While there has been a bipartisan climate solutions working group in the US House for some time, recently the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus was formed by Senator Michael Braun (R-IN) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). These diverse Senators (including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen) from all parts of the U.S., different parties, interests and economies, have a stake in solving the climate crisis. It is designed to be a small, active working group, focused on solutions. It’s about time, peer reviewed scientist’s warnings have been drowned out by dirty money for decades.

We have a massive market failure; we’re dumping tons of very dangerous greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere for free. Let’s start by taxing what we burn not what we earn and unleashing American entrepreneurs to accelerate the shift to cleaner energy. There’s a bipartisan House bill that puts money in every household budget and brings greenhouse gas emissions down 90 percent by 2050. US House bill 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act puts a price on carbon and gives the cash back to households as dividends. Please join fellow Citizens Climate Lobby members in encouraging Sen Shaheen to support this effective, efficient, equitable and achievable legislation.

Locally, to learn more or get involved in actions including: Ready for 100%, community power, Solarize, electric vehicles (EVs), Community Supported Solar, and energy efficiency initiatives please visit www.GreenMonadnock.org.

We can no longer afford to ignore warnings from scientists as their scary predictions come true. Unless we clean up our act the losses of life and property, social and economic upheaval will continue to rise endangering children.

John Kondos is a founding member of the Monadnock Sustainability Network (whose mission is to promote credible, sustainable practices in the region), the Monadnock Energy Hub and the Monadnock chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.