On October 6th the United Nations IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued its latest report on the threat that global warming poses to the planet. Underpinned by strong science and more detailed and conclusive data than ever before, the report says that if we don’t change course, we will reach 1.5˚C of global warming between 2030 and 2052.
Somewhere between 1.5˚C and 2˚C is considered the tipping point at which things spiral out of control. Irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheet brings a rise in sea levels (goodbye Damariscotta parking lot and other low-lying local areas); ecosystems change around the world; all coral reefs die; and the lives of tens of millions of people are radically disrupted.
The precursors are here. The Gulf of Maine is the second fastest warming body of water on the surface of the earth. Lobsters are migrating north – already out of Long Island Sound and perhaps eventually to leave Maine waters. Extreme floods and hurricanes are slamming southern coasts. The IPCC concludes that we need a major, sustained international effort to rapidly halt and reverse increasing carbon dioxide emissions, and that this reversal has to take place before 2030. This is only 12 years away.
But we have a climate change denier in the White House. One of President Trump’s first acts was to pull the USA out of the Paris Agreement. He is enthusiastically supported by climate change deniers in the House and Senate. The head of the EPA is a former coal industry lobbyist. EPA is being almost daily undermined; it has been ordered to remove references to climate change from its website.
Once upon a time, the Republican Party was a leader in bipartisan environmental protection. Today’s Republican Party relentlessly rejects climate change science, refuses to participate in any meaningful efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses, and celebrates some of the worst-polluting industries.
If you care about the world we will leave to our children and grandchildren, make sure you are registered to vote. Use that vote on November 6th to elect candidates at all levels of government – local, state & federal – who accept the validity of climate change science and are committed to re-joining the worldwide effort to halt global warming.