CLIMATE CHANGE INFO & RESOURCES
CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE URGENCY TO ACT
It is not an exaggeration to say that the global ecosystem is at a life threatening crossroads. New research and increasingly severe climate events make it clear that a gradualist approach to eliminating fossil fuel emissions cannot prevent the looming climate disaster. We need citizens to unite and demand emergency action right now. The question is not whether we have the power to change the present course, but whether we choose to use it.
Where are we now? Currently the earth’s climate has warmed by about 1°C compared to pre industrial levels. According to the "Emissions Gap Report" (pdf) from the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), present pledges to cut emissions will result in a temperature rise of 3.2°C. This is far above the 2°C limit and 1.5°C goal agreed upon at last year’s Paris climate accord. Moreover, current science suggests that even if we stopped all emissions today we would still be locked into a 1.5°C temperature increase. This ‘modest’ increase is incredibly risky because of the existence of climate feedback loops or when a change in one quantity affects a second quantity which feeds back to another change in the first (e.g. CO2 warming melting Arctic Ice which releases large amounts of methane, exacerbating the original temperature increase). This is just one example of how the complexity of climate systems make it difficult to predict the level of temperature increases. Prof. David Spratt warns that there is a one-in-three or greater chance of the budgeted 1.5°C increase exceeding its target by 0.5°C. In other words, the current disastrous predictions may be too conservative. It’s time for us to amplify the alarm bells.
The Risk of Civilizational Collapse: The present course threatens millions of individual species and numerous human societies, particularly those most vulnerable and least responsible: young people, marginalized Americans, and those living in the Global South. Beyond this, the warming climate threatens the fundamental stability of human civilization through the exacerbation and multiplication of existing security threats. Rising sea levels will create millions of climate refugees in a political atmosphere that has shown itself to be utterly callous and indifferent to such a crisis. Paul Gilding identifies the economic risk of the global insurance industry going into insolvency in the face of multiple climate disasters and the run-on effects in the banking industry of using uninsured debt as collateral. In his book Climate Wars, military and international affairs journalist Gwynne Dyer predicts the collapse of the already weak EU in the 2030s, overrun by the movement of northern African refugees and Southern Europeans fleeing north to escape an expanding Sahara. This crisis multiplier effect presents the risk of the disintegration of our economic, social and political systems beyond the point of return.
A Way Forward: The severity of the situation we are in can be overwhelming, but once we have stepped into the full embrace of reality, there are no shortage of solutions that demand our participation. The New Haven Climate Movement joins with numerous other networks to call for an emergency nationwide mobilization to stop CO2 emissions within a decade.
Specifically, leaders such as The Climate Mobilization are calling for a WWII-type government-coordinated mobilization to end US net emissions by 2025, combined with major investment in technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The electoral coalition necessary to make this happen can only be built from a major mobilization from the grassroots, using our collective power to build a network of citizens demanding the basic protection of our common life. Bill Mckibben (founder of 350.org) points out the huge socio-economic benefits of major climate mobilization, from a massive reduction in pollution-related deaths to the creations of millions of high-skill and high-wage jobs in clean energy production, to name just a few.
What can you do?
● Get involved! Join NHCM’s outreach campaign & attend public meetings/vigils/protests.
● Do your research! Devote time to further research to spread the truth of the climate disaster among family, friends and
colleagues, emphasizing the benefits of clean and safe energy. (TCM has good resources)
● Recruit others! Invite them to join our campaign. Let's use our collective skills to organize the emerging climate
● Pressure elected leaders! Tell them to support mobilizations at the state and federal level.
● Increase market demand for decarbonization! Sign up for clean energy, invest in renewable energy, install solar, and purchase an electric vehicle.
The New Haven Climate Movement joins with other organization to spread the urgent message of the Climate Crisis. Together we will build a nationwide emergency mobilization to transform our economy, protect our common home, and secure a safer and more prosperous future.