This article discusses how Climate Apathy Is Worse Than Climate Denial. A new report makes the dangers of a warming planet more apparent than ever. Too bad the people running the US don’t seem to care.
Imagine you heard a meteor was careening toward Earth. Though scientists were unsure how big the meteor would be by the time it hit or where it might land, they had been releasing reports on the meteor’s progress toward the planet for decades and estimating the devastation it would cause. The methods by which the world’s governments could stop the meteor or at least mitigate its damage were obvious to everyone—they could start strictly regulating all the industries that effectively acted as meteor magnets, for instance. But the United States, in this scenario, is led by politicians who either deny that meteors exist or else argue that trying to stop the meteor would be too hard or disrupt the economy too much to bother.
That analogy for climate change isn’t perfect—for one thing, the effects of climate change won’t arrive as suddenly as a rock from outer space. But it does illustrate the absurdity of the Trump administration’s fingers-in-its-ears response to a rapidly warming planet and all the catastrophes overwhelmingly likely to result. On Monday, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report warning that unless carbon dioxide emissions hit net zero by 2050—and are slashed 45 percent by 2030—the world’s average temperature will rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above what it was in the preindustrial era. That report “describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040—a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population,” according to the New York Times. And if nothing is done and the world hits a 2-degree increase, the consequences will be even more dire. As Motherboard reports:
Twice as many people would have unreliable access to water as do today. Food shortages in Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean, central Europe, and the South American Amazon will intensify. The range of heat-driven diseases like malaria will spread. Maize, rice, wheat will become about half as productive, and rice and wheat will become less nutritious. But 2 degrees of warming isn’t even a worst-case scenario. If we keep releasing emissions at our current rate, the earth will warm by 4.8 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels by 2100.