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March 19, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Science: What’s It Up To?

Climate Change: We’re Boned

Climatologists reporting for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say we are seeing climate change caused by the actions of humans. We’re burning nature’s vast stores of coal, oil and natural gas and releasing thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps the Sun’s radiation within the lower atmosphere. If current trends continue, this is projected to raise global temperatures anywhere between 2-5°C.

What’s wrong with a little climate change you may ask? Melting glaciers and precipitation are causing some rivers to overflow, and others to dry up. Habitats are being destroyed and many species are in danger of extinction. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and destructive. Arctic sea ice is melting faster every year, sea level is rising, and there are growing fears of a shutdown of the ocean currents responsible for heating and cooling different parts of the earth.

The IPCC recommends emissions reductions of 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80-95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, to even have a 50 per cent chance of not crossing the 2°C threshold. New Zealand’s current target for emissions reduction is a conditional 10-20 per cent reduction by 2020 and a reduction of 50 per cent by 2050.

In choosing not to act on recommendations made by mainstream science, young New Zealanders will
not only inherit massive ecological debt and a country further reliant on fossil fuels, we will also be lumbered with a hidden financial debt because of our country’s failure to meet its international commitments. Yikes.

Want to do something about it? You can get involved with Generation Zero, a nationwide collective of young people who are working to make New Zealand carbon neutral by 2050, running both small and large environmental projects with a particular focus on the political sphere. Check their website for more details: generationzero.org.nz.

To those who still doubt the legitimacy of climate science, the question you should be asking yourselves is not “Should I believe those climate change lackeys?” Instead ask “What should we do, if anything, right now?” The physical world doesn’t respond to our beliefs, rather our actions. If there is a legitimate prediction of severe risk to the entire planet presented by a large number of experts in climate science, shouldn’t we be taking it seriously and talking about mitigation of that risk? It seems foolish to outright reject the findings of experts because you are skeptical of some of the details. Check out wonderingmind42’s YouTube channel playlist entitled How It All Ends where he breaks down the entire complex issue piece by piece and approaches it eloquently with intelligence and logic.

Better get yer coat, storm’s a brewin’.

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