This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (NOAA via AP) This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. EDT. (NOAA via AP)

Column: If not now, when will we make the changes needed to stop global warming?

The thought of our children or grandchildren suffering from the ravages of climate change are unbearable to think about, too frightening to consider. So we don’t.

It’s a little like being a child with that monster under the bed.

It’s there, always in the corner of your mind, never allowing you to completely relax, to feel safe.

You can curl up tightly in the covers, immerse yourself in a book, think of other things, but it’s still there.

It’s only when you buck up your courage, roll onto your stomach and slowly, shakily, lower your head over the edge of the bed, and take an upside-down look below the mattress that things change.

The fear shifts. The monster in your mind relinquishes some of its power.

Climate change is a bit like that.

Forest fires rage, rivers flood, temperatures spike and fall to extremes, tornadoes and hurricanes blow, but we skip down the garden path, our shiny new pipeline under our arm, the gold coins from LNG jingling in our pockets. Still, we can’t quite relax and enjoy.

The thought of our children or grandchildren suffering from the ravages of climate change are unbearable to think about, too frightening to consider. So we don’t.

Related: UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning

On Monday, however, the scientists of the world demanded we take a look. A hard look.

If we refuse to look we remain immobilized, powerless, distracted.

These scientists are not an extreme group out to frighten people.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries, using more than 6,000 scientific references, prepared The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. They are the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group invited to make a report for the United Nations on climate change and what can be done.

If we humans continue on the path we are on, heedlessly releasing greenhouse gases into the air, the planet will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures by 2030 – just 12 years from now.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree Celsius of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of one IPCC working group.

Related: Canada needs to cut its emissions almost in half: UN

The report provides policy makers with the information they need to tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs.

“The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” states Debra Roberts, another working group co-chair.

So whether we’re environmentalists or not, whether we need the funds provided by the oil industry or not, this report is for all of us.

We all depend on the earth and, more importantly, so do the generations who follow.

If we’re not going to make substantial and decisive changes now, when are we?

Martha Wickett is a reporter with the Salmon Arm Observer.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary outlines its mandate at North Cowichan council meeting

President Beaubier states her case for group’s tireless efforts

Current MP opens Cowichan-Malahat-Langford campaign office

MacGregor vowing to return to Ottawa for another four years

Environment and economy key issues for Liberal’s Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidate

Herbert campaign focuses on party’s investments in both areas

Roundabout taxing for public purse strings

The need for four a short distance apart seems unfathomable

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read