With Nature There Are No Special Effects
With Nature There Are No Special Effects
Suddenly, because of a movie, so many are now talking about the greatest threat the planet has ever faced.
The Day after Tomorrow is science fiction, but global warming is real. Will the movie end up trivializing the impact of climate change and thus increase indifference? Or will it spur more people to take action? Too early to tell.
Is reality more frightening than
Up to 64% of
Today in the
Ice cores from
Between 1998 and 2001, the Qori Kalis glacier in
Just southeast of
The scientific journal Nature published this year the findings of 19 eminent biological scientists. Climate change, they concluded, will "commit to extinction" 18% to 35% of all land-based animal and plant species.
Over 20,000 people died in
According to leading reinsurance companies such as Munich Re and Swiss Re, climate-change related damages might cost $150 billion annually within a decade. The companies warn that unless action is taken today, the insurance industry could go bankrupt as extreme weather events such as storms and droughts increase in severity and frequency.
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu of
The incidence of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever carried by insects that thrive in warm temperatures is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years, possibly straining beyond limits the modest resources of government health systems in developing countries. Recent studies suggest that close to 300 million more people would be at risk from malaria if global temperatures continue to increase.
An eight-year study conducted by 100 scientists showed that in the southern Chinese
Climate change is not called "the great amplifier" for nothing. Hunger, misery, thirst, and want -- the consequences of all the flaws in our world's economic systems will be magnified, giving rise to ever more resource-related conflicts in addition to those already created by the madness of the American imperial enterprise.
"Climate change," said Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "is the most severe problem that we are facing today -- more serious even than the threat of terrorism."
Great as the problem of climate change may be, most often neglected is the fact that solutions are readily available -- solutions that, sadly, are just not being used; solutions that can prevent climate change from taking a more dangerous and unpredictable trajectory; solutions that are not only immediately beneficial to the environment but have immense economic potential as well. The global wind industry alone, for instance, has been enjoying a growth rate of over 30% annually for the last five years with wind-power costs dropping by 50% in the last 15 years. Resources from the sun, the tides, the waves, geothermal power -- all these are waiting to be harnessed; waiting, despite the enormity of the danger confronting us, because the resources that should be used to tap their regenerative power economically remain dedicated to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. A planetary betrayal.
We all know what the problem is: burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil along with the unsustainable and inequitable use of our planet's resources. And we know what we have to do. We must generate our energy from clean, safe, renewable resources and use our energy in a sustainable way.
Because there really is no other way.
The measurable, time-bound development of renewable energy based on real and ambitious targets, matched with deep, rapid cuts in CO2 emissions -- this is what's needed today if we are to save the global commons from devastating climate-change impacts.
Big or small, populous, powerful, or frail, each country and each individual has a central role to play in redirecting our planet away from its present deadly course. After all, as a great reminder goes, if the world were a huge airplane about to crash, would it really matter that you were seated in first class?
The task of taking back the pilot's cockpit from those who have hijacked our plane of a planet must be our number one priority.
The time for indifference is over. We must demand nothing less than an energy revolution. Taking action the day after tomorrow may well be too late. Actua ya. Act now. El dia es hoy.
The day for action is today.
Renato Redentor Constantino is the climate and energy campaign advisor to Greenpeace in
Copyright C2004 Renato Redentor Constantino
[This article first appeared on Tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news, and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, long time editor in publishing and author of The End of Victory Culture and The Last Days of Publishing.]