Tell the Truth
‘The earth no longer produces, it devours’.Brecht, Finland 1940, verse IV
What more do you need? Do you need more evidence or more material goods to hide your unhappiness? Do you want to hide behind a veneer of cynicism or just passive acceptance? Mere tokenism is not enough. Public proclamations are not enough. It’s action that’s needed and we do not have much time.
‘Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming’.
It’s actually worse than that. The IPCC Synthesis Report of 2014 informs us that; ‘global 2010 emissions are 31% above the 1990 emissions’. Greta Thunberg will tell anyone that listens, even the elite in Davos, that after 2030 human intervention will be unable to prevent Climate Change on a scale that is beyond that experienced at the moment.
Even if the Paris Accords are met in full, with current consensus that it should be the 1.5c not 2.0c, that change will continue to happen well into this century and the next.
Extreme weather and climate effects mean food insecurity; water insecurity; sea level rises and increased acidity in the sea; increased migration from climate impacted regions. This is known. But the point is to act. This requires citizens, local, national and UK government and private business to act. Why?
Here is just a local example. Climate Central has produced two maps using the best available science to give a scenario of sea levels at 2 degree warming and 4 degree warming. Even under the 2 degree warming the sea will reach Leith Links East, cover Western Harbour and Newhaven village as well as Lower Granton Road.
Moving up to 4 degree would see most of the Links and half of Coburg Street under water. The maps show sea level projections that lock in, should current temperature levels continue. Globally sea levels have risen by 8 feet since records began in 1880. They are predicted to rise by another 1 to 4 feet by 2100. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) comprising 1,300 scientists from around the World forecast that temperatures would increase between 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. So it will continue.
In their polemic Why we Rebel extinction rebellion (XR) argue that, ‘this is the time. Wherever we are standing is the place’. Their first demand is ‘Tell the Truth’.
This might not be easy for us here in Scotland a place where the Governing party with a large amount of public support state boldly “It is our oil”, whilst ignoring that it’s everybody’s planet.
The continued exploitation of oil and gas is a key dynamic in the case for independence but is also a key driver in climate change. The IPCC report says that we need ‘adaptation planning and implementation’ to meet the challenge of the Paris Accords yet there is no sign of that happening here.
We have seen Pelamis come and go. We have seen Wind Turbines being built halfway round the World then assembled in Burntisland. We have seen a bridge built with Chinese steel and assembled here so that even more cars, more than the bridge can cope with according to recent reports, pollute the atmosphere, rather than a sustained investment in public transport and freight hubs for goods.
This denial, despite public proclamations that acknowledge the need to act, cannot continue. We need to tell the truth not just to Government but also to ourselves.
Along with Government action we need citizen action. We need to consume less and share more. It can be done. It will require a huge effort on the part of us all but it can be done. We have to recognise as XR do in their polemic that ‘The World’s resources are being seized faster than the natural world can replenish them’.
Children can do the maths on this, and know they are being sent the bill. And the young are in rebellion now. This is their time, their fire. The flame is theirs and they are lighting the way. Why? Because they have been let down, the World set a target with Brundtland in 1987 and now 33 years later we are still ignoring what needs to be done. We need to change what we are doing, as the science tells us it’s not working. We are running out of time.
Sources: IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer, editors]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp.