As we embark on a new decade it’s imperative that we resolve to take action or risk enormous costs for mankind and countless species. Whether we like it or not or “believe” the science, the reality of climate change is upon us. It affects everything and everyone sooner or later, not just weather patterns, drought and flood prone regions, but the health, security and safety of everyone. As we continue dumping greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere it gets worse for future generations.
Government leaders were alerted to the carbon problem in 1965. A Presidential science advisory report stated carbon stored up in the crust over hundreds of millions of years was being released in a few generations; if nothing were done, temperatures and sea levels would rise to an extent with no historic parallel. In 1965, carbon dioxide was only 40 PPM above the level 200 years earlier of 280 PPM. It took three decades to add the next 40 PPM and only twenty years for the next 40 PPM. We’re now at 408 PPM and adding two PPM/year! There was no proof in 1965, the fossil fuel industry has exploited the doubts, now we’re seeing the early onset.
This decade will either be a turning point or the slippery slide into a much hotter, wetter, wilder, more expensive and dangerous world. Tens of millions forced from their homes in flood or drought racked cities and towns in the US and far more in the most vulnerable countries. There is no precedent for these levels of mass migrations if we cross tipping points such as Arctic sea ice and glacial losses.
There are exciting, challenging, rewarding and imperative solutions we can resolve to achieve but time is running out. We’re beyond feel good steps like changing light bulbs, we need a transition to clean energy. There are personal opportunities, often with health benefits, such as a more plant-based diet or by walking or biking instead of driving. Meaningful individual actions are valuable but we need significant collective actions to drawdown carbon pollution.
We have a massive market failure; we’re dumping tons of very dangerous greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere for free. Let’s start by taxing what we burn not what we earn and unleashing American entrepreneurs to accelerate the shift to cleaner energy. The bipartisan House bill HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act puts money in every household budget and brings greenhouse gas emissions down 90 percent by 2050. This bill puts a price on carbon and gives the cash back to households as dividends. This is an effective, efficient, equitable and achievable first step.
Locally, to engage in actions including: Ready for 100%, Community Power, Solarize, electric vehicles (EVs), Community Supported Solar, and energy efficiency initiatives please visit www.GreenMonadnock.org.
Aren’t our children and countless species worth making, keeping and fulfilling resolutions to draw down greenhouse gasses and get back to clean air?
John Kondos is a founding member of the Monadnock Sustainability Network (whose mission is to promote credible, sustainable practices in the region), the Monadnock Energy Hub and the Monadnock chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.