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By Joanna Clark

A little more than a week ago, MSNBC journalist Ali Velshi began his report on the growing climate emergency by telling us, “The West is on fire, roads are literally melting, and people are dropping dead in the heat. Hurricanes come earlier, more frequently and, often because of warmer seas and changes in the prevailing winds, with more devastating effects.”

In 1769, when our love affair with fossil fuels began, the global population was about 771 million, and concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were about 278 parts per million (ppm). In the ensuing 252 years, population growth exceeded 7.8 billion. With its increasing demand for fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 has risen to 415.86 ppm. That’s the biggest and fastest change in atmospheric CO2 in more than 800,000 years. Get it? It’s all tied to us.

The effects of greenhouse gases are not new. In the mid-to-late1880s, numerous European and American scientists demonstrated how increasing carbon dioxide levels (CO2) could warm the planet. The issue didn’t creep up unexpectedly; adequate warnings were provided. We chose to ignore the science and growing threat.

Today, temperatures exceeding 115 degrees are responsible for more than one-third of heat-related deaths.

Despite the accumulated evidence, the climate naysayers seek to convince us that global warming and climate change are hoaxes. The vast majority of these naysayers are mega-rich individuals who owe their fortunes to fossil fuels. They stand to lose the most in their denial of climate crises. Their goal: the best lack of government regulation their money can buy.

The United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.   Since then, the IPCC has published five Synthesis Reports, with a Special Report 1.5°C, followed by the US Global Change Research Program’s 4th National Climate Assessment, a week later. Both reports concluded that we had 12 yearsto limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C. Beyond 1.5°C, even a half-degree will significantly worsen the risks of severe droughts, floods, storms, and extreme heatwaves. Should this occur, the planet could become uninhabitable. Twelve years from the date of the report is 2030. Today in 2021, we have nine years left to save our children’s home from becoming potentially uninhabitable.

On June 23, 2021, Agence France-Presse published the 4,000-page draft of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, currently undergoing final review for release in February 2022. It indicates that “climate change will fundamentally reshape life on Earth in the coming decades, even if humans can tame planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.”

For those still doubting—it’s time to “wake up and smell the smog.”

Joanna Clark served as a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, training aircrews on the Lockheed P3 0rion patrol aircraft. After leaving the Navy, she spent 22 years involved in global AIDS education. In 2015, she became involved in climate change. She is a member of the South Orange County chapter of Citizens’ Climate Education.

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comments (6)

  • Very well said. On February 5, 2020, the PBS Show “NOVA,” aired the program “Polar Extremes,” which showed that the polar regions of Earth are changing rapidly. “Today, the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else in the world, and Antarctica has locked in its ice enough water to raise the sea level by a terrifying 200 feet..” Ice shelves in Antarctica are collapsing at a rate 150 times the rate they were prior to the beginning of the Industrial Age. Show after show, report after report has continued to lay in front of us the evidence that our climate on Earth is changing rapidly, and that we are the cause. How much more evidence will it take before people wake up and realize we have to act now, or our children and their children will be paying the price for our inaction? Is that what you want your legacy to be?

  • The message is very simple: Love your Mother earth. She’s the only there is. Even the last and wealthiest man standing, if he possesses the whole world but has lost his soul, his connection with Mother earth and all who live, will die a lonely pauper. There is only one for all, so there must be all for one, our Mother earth.

  • I have a friend who lives in Ohio whose farm is being smoked because of the fires across the West. All that carbon, stored for decades in living trees is now blanketing the continent as temperatures skyrocket around the world. Some continue to deny climate science because they can not tell the difference between climate and weather. Guess what. Now they are pretty much the same. It’s not too late, but its getting there.

  • The average existence mammals in the Cenozoic era (65 million years ago to present) is 3.21 million years, with larger mammals lasting longer than smaller mammals, according to a 2013 study in the journal Integrative Zoology.. For Homo Sapiens, their extinctions seem to be rather imminent due to self destruction of climate and have currently managed only 300,000 years.

  • Brainwashed by elitist. Climate has been changing since beginning of time. Ciites found underwater, volcanoes erupting forming new islands, the list is endless. Is a “Universe” that drives climate change, not mankind. Climate change alarmism is driven solely by elitist to control economy and power.

    • You are correct when you say the climate has been changing since the beginning of time. What you don’t seem to grasp is that the changes that brought about the past five extinctions occurred over millions of years, not a few hundred. We first appeared about 300,000 years ago in Africa.

      The population of our species has grown over those 300,000 years.. Today we number more than seven billion, and by 2050, we are expected to exceed nine billion on a planet that can sustain two billion under normal conditions. As a consequence of our population growth, we are changing the planet over the course of a few hundred years, not millions of years, and there is little time for species, including ourselves, to adapt.

      Since 1980, more than 3,100,000 lives have been lost worldwide to extended heat waves, droughts, loss of crops, severe storms, and freshwater loss. You might visit our local library, and read some of the scientific reports that have been published over the last couple of decades. You won’t find a bunch of elists in those reports, just people concerned about whether the world will be able to support our children and grandchildren in the coming decades.

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