Monday, September 19, 2016

Where does Climate Change go in this year’s US presidential election?

Now that Bernie Sanders, who was the champion for addressing Climate Change, is out of the presidential race, where does this crisis go? (Bernie Sanders: Yes, Climate Change Is Still Our Biggest National Security Threat, 11/14/2015, Mother Jones) Does it get ignored because Clinton can’t or won’t use it to beat Trump over the head because neither Trump nor the media think it’s worth bringing up?

Does it get kicked down the road to another election because it still doesn’t have ‘legs’ in our electoral process? If so, that would put us into an even deeper existential plight.

Yes, existential plight.

However unfashionable using apocalyptic language with this crisis may appear, one cannot overstate the problem with Climate Change and our collective inertia. President Obama began his presidency with a very milquetoast policy on Climate Change and what evolved over his watch is a President far more engaged with this crisis: Obama on ‘Terrifying’ Threat of Climate Change (September 8, 2016, New York Times).  

We, humanity, the folks who caused Climate Change, haven’t been addressing Climate Change on a scale that will matter. Somehow we’ve fallen into the attitude that our political process is the sole measure of this crisis. This is nonsense on stilts as we can no more vote physics out of our existence than we can travel through time.

It’s eerie that much of our own inability to address Climate Change that is being addressed by our oceans. If it wasn’t for the oceans sucking up the heat of our Climate Change, we would have already cooked ourselves: “…the surface of the Earth would have warmed by a devastating 36C, rather than 1C, over the past century.” (See below.)  BTW: “Thirty-six degrees Celsius is equal to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit.”1.

Soaring ocean temperature is 'greatest hidden challenge of our generation' IUCN report warns that ‘truly staggering’ rate of warming is changing the behaviour of marine species, reducing fishing zones and spreading disease The soaring temperature of the oceans is the “greatest hidden challenge of our generation” that is altering the make-up of marine species, shrinking fishing areas and starting to spread disease to humans, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of ocean warming. The oceans have already sucked up an enormous amount of heat due to escalating greenhouse gas emissions, affecting marine species from microbes to whales, according to an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report involving the work of 80 scientists from a dozen countries. (September 15, 2016) The Guardian

But the oceans are not providing this convenient service for us up until we get our act together. There’s a terrible price being paid for this stored heat and profound ecosystem changes where the piper will have to be paid by our children.

There is going to be a terrible procrastination penalty for not obeying the laws of physics—where the trapped heat from our greenhouse gas emissions must be accounted for. Increasingly, climate models are proving how sensitive all life on Earth are to every little change in energy passing through our life support system.

There has been no hiatus, no free ride, no time out, and no carbon budget where we can delude ourselves into thinking that we have more time before we have to act. It has long since past when we should have reversed our greenhouse gas emissions. 

We cannot put Climate Change on the ballot box and vote away physics. Time is running out and installing a climate denier leader will put Climate Change (ironically) in the forefront of our existence. But not in a good way.

Time passes. 

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