By George Harvey
The UN panel on climate change has issued its latest report, The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued its Fifth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. The report makes one point very clear:
Climate change is real, and it is caused by human beings.
The scientific community has come to the point that it sees no viable alternative to this view. It is not a matter of natural change, it is not imaginary, and it has not slowed down just because a polar vortex made us colder than we had been for years. There is no other scientific explanation for what is going on.
Deniers of all stripes will doubtless continue to deny. Whether it is out of fear of some bogeyman, such as some diabolical attempt at world domination, or fear of losing a lifestyle that includes fast cars and an absolute right run the furnace with the thermostat at 75º while running the air conditioning at 68º, they will deny. And how could we expect otherwise – after all there are still some who insist that the world is flat.
The report also makes another thing very clear:
Reducing the effects of climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
In a nutshell, that means being as efficient as possible, switching to renewable energy sources, and turning to a lifestyle calculated to be sustainable.
We might make the observation here that if a lifestyle is sustainable, then it includes an ability to survive. It should be obvious, but deniers tend to believe a non-sustainable lifestyle is okay, even though it clearly must end at some point. And why would anyone actually choose a social paradigm that is terminal?
Perhaps it needs to be pointed out that if we adopt a sustainable lifestyle, then we gain a possibility of achieving, at some point, a goal that is otherwise impossible:
By living sustainably, we can live healthy, happy lives.
For those who object to this conclusion, it might be pointed out that this is not a guarantee; it is merely a statement of a possibility. However, the converse is also true:
By refusing to live sustainably, we cannot continue to live healthy, happy lives, because eventually we lose the ability to live at all.