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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Climate change: ‘This is just the beginning’

We CANNOT continue to hide from this. The scientific community has reached a consensus that the build-up of heat-trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels and clearing forests is changing the climate, the result of which imposes significant risk to our well-being. Yet as conclusive as these studies are, we continue as a society to accelerate our emission levels putting us on a trajectory of temperature increases well in excess of the 2.0 C target established by the international community in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord. 

This shocking ambivalence persists in the backdrop of 2011 being a "real killer" when it comes to unbelievably hot temperatures and a record number of extreme weather events including droughts, catastrophic floods, and continual forest fires, including the worst ever in Texas. This alongside a recent study that showed how our current trajectory will inevitably lead to an unprecedented and permanent tipping point in the Earth's ability to provide ecosystem services. Why then, despite unequivocal conclusions, does society drag their feet in acting? Several studies have looked at this question and through doing so they tend to distinguish between those people who deny that climate change is a reality from those people who accept human-induced climate change as reality, yet are inactive in response. 

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