The Time to Act is Now

This week, the option of ignoring global warming was officially relegated to the dustbin of history. First the Supreme Court, and today the international scientific community, said that global warming is a reality impacting our lives today and must be dealt with.

The state of play on global warming is perfectly summed up by the dramatic confrontation between scientists and political apparatchiks late last night over the latest IPCC report. The politicians pushed through slightly wishy-washy language and U.S. delegates rejected suggested wording that parts of North America may suffer ‘severe economic damage’ from warming. But it was the most Pyrrhic of victories — because it was entirely overwhelmed by the larger document that, in dry scientific language, depicts the end of life as we know it. The reality of droughts, water shortages, starvation and flooding facing hundreds of millions of people this century cannot be denied by spin.

Much has been made of the report findings that global warming will hit poor countries the most. But make no mistake, the developed world isn’t spared — and we have more to lose. One especially ominous warning from the report:

It is very likely that globally aggregated figures underestimate the damage costs because they cannot include many non-quantifiable impacts. Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.

Today the international scientific community said that we’re already feeling the impacts of global warming — which is a scary enough headline, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. It is crystal clear that we’re on a path to Planetary Purgatory, with a fate of Hell and High Water unless we change course immediately.