Last week marked the one year anniversary of the release of the IPCC Special Report noting about a dozen years to get our shit together as humans if we’d like to continue habitation on Planet Earth. Actually, Diana Liverman, one of the report’s authors, recently chastised the use of the “12 years” concept. She notes 2030 was an “arbitrary number” for a midpoint aim. But if we cut to brass tacks, that’s pretty much what the report does say. If we don’t quickly begin massive programs to reduce our carbon impact, we’re toast.

So what’s happened in that year? From where I sit, it seems pretty much nothing in the way of policy or corporate action. More are talking about mitigation or adaptation but talk seems to be the extent. Declaring “climate emergency” is also popular but not really bringing any action. Mostly, I’ve just seen more and more people in the streets demanding action as more and closer devastating effects of our global crisis appear every day. Last year, the IPCC announcement was one of the major climate stories of the moth. Lately, there are dozens of climate stories EVERY DAY. So, we’re not doing much but things are sure heating up.

Minnesota has been making some progress, though we’re still not on track to meet our 80% GHG reduction by 2050. We were already on the path, thanks in part to measures put in place by Republican Governor Pawlenty with the Next Generation Energy Act and Renewable Energy Standard. And there have been some clean transportation efforts that look impressive… especially when you look at the backward plans proposed by our current Republican Administration in D.C. But we’re still chatting up the idea of allowing Enbridge to put in a new Line 3 Tar Sands pipeline so, there’s that. But the fight for and against clean energy continues. And a clean energy future is possible.

Clean Energy Jobs Would Triple by 2050 Average Household Energy Bills Would Decrease by $1,200 per Year

We continue to talk, talk, talk about what is to be done. Meanwhile, we continue to see increasingly impossible to deal with environmental situations. Who knew we’d begin to have monsoons in Minnesota? Is this rain ever going to stop? I mean, it just turned to snow this past weekend but I’m seeing no end in sight to the excessive water we’re getting. Meanwhile, my hometown in Ohio won’t have their normal fall colors this year because of drought conditions. Is that enough of a wake-up from Mother Earth? “You don’t fix this shit, you don’t get fall colors. I know it’s one of your favorite things but if you’re not going to take care of me.” [Actually, I don’t think She’s that mean-spirited…]

But talk is getting us nowhere, especially as actions taken by the current federal administration are working so hard to keep us stuck in the fossil fuel conundrum we’ve created. [It’s pretty clear to see who’s getting the spoils in America. Is it because three big oil companies gave Trump at least a half-million dollars?]

Trump Administration rules that were officially reversed and rollbacks still in progress Luckily, some of these are being reinstated, often with legal actions. The lawyers are sure getting rich from this Republican Administration.

Perhaps those suffering the most are our animals. I am guessing it’s a lack of exposure to natural environments… as we shuffle from driveway to workplace, then hockey arena to McDonald’s, then to that place on the couch that knows our butt so well as we decompress from the day’s stresses… that disconnects us, preventing us from seeing the reductions in bees, birds, and other friends around us. But I am not sure why there is such misunderstanding that we live within an ECOSYSTEM. That SYSTEM requires all its parts to function as it has. When we start eliminating various cogs from the machine, we should not be shocked when it spirals into collapse. We kill all the wolves and coyotes and fox because some steal a few chickens. And then the deer eat our gardens and wreck our cars with their overabundance. And who will eat all the mice? We are so lost. And we are earning our extinction, unlike the plant and animal kingdoms around us.

Al Gore tried to tell us what science had known for decades. He predicted much that we would see with the climate crisis. Recent Guardian reporting shows the systemic effort by the fossil fuel industry to deceive the public. So it’s been far longer than 30 or 40 years that we have FAILED TO ADDRESS our changing climate. And it may very well be the end of us yet.

“The physics and chemistry that we’ve known about for over 200 years is bearing out,” Thompson says. “We’ve learned so much in the last 10 years, but the fact that the unprecedented climate change of the last 40 years is being driven by increased CO2 hasn’t changed.”

From Hurricanes to Drought to Sea Level Rise, you can read more here.

When it comes to ice, Richard Alley says it well, “It’s hard to predict how the ice will fracture. That’s why you don’t want to tiptoe up on the disaster point. The edge between ‘it’s still there’ and ‘it’s had a catastrophic failure’ is something to be completely avoided.” Yet on we tiptoe. Actually, on we stomp. In the last 30 years since global warming has become part of the mainstream, little to nothing has been done nothing to decelerate our use of fossil fuels.

The only one trending in the right direction seems to be Germany…
The interesting interactive graphs in this article can keep you busy for hours.

Some have predicted that we’ve hit Peak Oil and this is a topic of much debate (often confused by the potential mis-reporting of “reserves” by fossil fuel companies). However, I think the better indicator is our Carbon Budget. Both ideas are covered in a piece by Our World in Data, an organization that focuses on poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality on a global scale. In the graph below, it’s clear that much of the fossil fuels will need to remain in the ground for humans to have a livable planet.

So whilst many worry about the possibility of fossil fuels running out, it is instead expected that we will have to leave between 65 to 80 percent of current known reserves untouched if we are to stand a chance of keeping average global temperature rise below our two-degrees global target.

A little scary that they go right to 2-degrees instead of 1.5.
Kinda lets us know that 1.5 may be out of the running. 😦

So where is the hope? Well, many days I lose mine. But I do claim to be an Eternal Optimist. So here goes.

THIS WOMAN gives me hope. The protests last week in the UK by Extinction Rebellion (XR) were clearly discussed by Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of XR. And this old dude. If he can do it, any of us can.

There are many localized projects working toward carbon sequestration and sustainable living. Often these projects have win-win-win outcomes, like the one Diana Liverman presented at the recent Nobel 55 at Gustavus Adolphus.

The trouble is this:

“We have to go against the logic of the system even while living within it. There are no merely technological solutions to the climate problem, though technological innovations are necessary. “

“In the long run we have to have a full ecological and social revolution, transcending existing capitalist relations of production. We have to reach zero net carbon emissions globally by 2050, and as long as we are committed to pursuing the logic of profit before people and the planet, getting there is impossible.”

Bellamy Foster

Maybe as we see more devastation here in the US, we will finally awaken to our gluttenous raping of the planet’s resources that is leaving our children without hope for much of a future. But I fear many don’t have the willingness or capability to make the changes necessary.

Humanity rising to tend to the damage that we’ve done… a wonderful concept that brings jobs, democracy, solutions. I think it will be our only way forward. It starts at home and in the streets. {Shout out to Auntie Reetz! Hope to see you while you’re in state.}