Greenhouse gas emissions hit new record high

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to the dangers of increased greenhouse gas emissions, our species still managed to hit a record for 2011 with a 3.6% increase at a time when science says we need to be decreasing that instead.  Our record gas emissions have us on track for a 3.5C or higher global temperature rise.  Check out the full report over at Treehugger.

We’re moving the wrong direction and let’s face it, we don’t have a political or social system that will effect the real, tangible change required to avoid high levels of global warming.  This planet will continue to warm and we can expect global climate patterns to change.  Sea levels will rise.  Food production will be impacted (at a time when a grown global population places more demand on that system).  Our children will ask us why we did this to the planet, and we won’t have a good answer…but we cannot deny that we knew what we were doing.

If this is important to you, prove it.  Drive less.  Vote for politicians who do not deny the science behind global warming (there are both Republicans and Democrats who believe in science here).  Buy less ‘stuff’.  Support truly eco-friendly businesses (not ones that are just good at greenwashing).  Better yet, teach your children about the impact our choices have on this planet, and what it means for their own future.

Depressing data on the future of climate change

According to this article in the New York Times, the future does not bode well for our planet.  By 2050, the global economy is expected to be about four times its current size, and fossil fuels will be supplying around 85% of energy at that time.  Not only does that mean increased air pollution (and the health effects caused by that, such as millions of deaths per year due to air pollution), but an increase in global average temperatures of 3-6C, well above the 2C limit internationally agreed upon.  With increasing population will also come increasing demand for water, something that is already in scarce supply in much of the world.  As climate patterns change due to global warming, we can expect those water supplies to be further strained as historical norms make way for the new (look at Texas’ drought as one example).

So, what can we do?  Let’s face it, not much.  In the US, we have a major political party that’s still in denial, so we could start there perhaps.  Realistically though, Bill Gates got it right in this TED talk where he says that what we need is a ZERO CO2 energy economy.  We’re so far away from that, that if we don’t take action and get serious about this soon, it’s going to be a really rough transition to adapt to a dramatically warmer Earth.  It’s a good talk, watch it:

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