The IPCC Takes off the Gloves

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According to leaks about the widely anticipated upcoming report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which is due the first week of April, the scientific community is finally taking off the gloves and hitting the public smack dab between the eyes with the brutal truth. Whereas, in the past, IPCC reports were conservatively constructed and couched in scientific lingo that people found difficult to fully understand, this time it is different. Accordingly, rumor has it that world governments have already signed off on “the critical finding that climate change is already having an effect, and that even a small amount of warming in the future could lead to ‘abrupt and irreversible changes’ according to leaked documents reviewed by The Guardian,” Suzanne Goldenberg, IPCC report: climate change felt ‘on all continents and across the oceans’, The Guardian, March 28, 2014. Based upon snippets from the leaked documents, the implied message is loud and clear that either the world gets off fossil fuels as soon as possible, or the climate change story is going to make Titanic (20th Century Fox, 1997) look like a ‘B’ movie. This blockbuster report will discuss how the changing climate is already (1) destroying the ocean, (2) damaging crops, and (3) melting glaciers. Alas, it will go so far as to suggest “that even a small amount of warming in the future could lead to “abrupt and irreversible changes,” Ibid. Most likely, it will not speculate about the prospects of “even a small amount of warming” already baked into the cake as a consequence of neoliberalism’s (aka: capitalism with the gloves off) unrelenting commitment to burning fossil fuels, especially considering the fact that 1,200 new coal-burning power plants worldwide are currently on the drawing boards, and most importantly, the sobering fact that the United States of America has a national policy of “energy independence” based upon fracking difficult-to-retrieve oil and gas that is trapped within tight shale formations by forcibly injecting toxic chemicals into the ground. And, infamously, America is seriously considering the transport of the world’s dirtiest, foulest fuel across the country via the Keystone XL Pipeline. This is, after all, the Age of Neoliberalism and profits reign supreme! On the other hand, as stated by Friedrich Nietzche: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Over the course of history, who would’ve ever guessed humanity would be reduced to forcing toxic chemicals deep into the ground to power vehicles and energy-producing facilities that pollute the air. One has to wonder how America’s founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, would respond, or for that matter, how anybody walking along the streets of Boston in the late 18th century would respond to America’s current state. Just for starters, they might ask: Do you really need to force toxic chemicals into the ground to get the energy source? And, a thinking renaissance man like Thomas Jefferson might ask if there is another better way like the windmills that he uses to pump water into the fields. Leaked Facts The IPCC report will state that some parts of the world are very close to a “tipping point.” Lamentably, once the tipping point is reached, it is too late to convert from fossil fuels to renewable energy. By then, the cake is already out of the oven. But, more poignantly yet, the report will state that the infamous “tipping point” has already arrived for (1) coral reefs and (2) the Arctic ecosystem, which “are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts.” Irreversible is irreversible! That being the case, everybody who lives in the Northern Hemisphere should brace for unpredictable, zany weather, like hot winters or, depending upon the loopy, crazed jet streams influenced by the warming Arctic, repeats of freezing cold winters, like 2014, and once-in-500-year floods like Eastern Europe in 2013, or Colorado in 2013, and once-in-200-year droughts like China. As such, it may be advisable to brace oneself; whatever it is, it will be supercharged. In time, massive destruction by climate change will likely bring in its wake a sea change in the socio-economic-political fabric of the world as people wise up to the failures of governments to protect their interests, especially in the U.S. where Congress has effectively ignored or blocked any kind of a national policy for renewable energy. Cynically, many of the members of Congress belittle renewable energy, but now that human-caused climate change is unequivocally putting the entire world at risk, what will they do? Be that as it may, in glaring contrast to American politics, Scotland is currently 40% renewable energy and headed for 100% by 2020. But, the United States still subsidizes fossil fuels by providing billions upon billions in tax incentives whilst treating solar, wind, and other renewable sources like an ugly stepchild, or worse. As such, renewables are not even in the sights of America. At the end of the day, climate change itself, as it ravages crops and depletes glacial water towers, may serve as the best, most effective, lobby for radical political change as the people of the world learn to understand how they have been hoodwinked for decades by the subterfuge of fossil fuel interests in concert with big government. As the climate continues to whipsaw farmers with flooding followed by droughts, making food more precious than oil, the world community, in search of answers, may come upon solutions like Greenpeace: “Renewable energy, smartly used, can and will meet our demands. No oil spills, no climate change, no radiation danger, no nuclear waste- simply energy we can trust. We can achieve a world with 100% renewable energy,” which statement serves as a workable alternative to the implications behind Texaco’s iconic slogan of the 20th century: “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star.” Over time, as the climate bears down on lifestyles, it’s entirely conceivable that the general public, by way of grassroots efforts, may urge, demand, insist that Greenpeace become a political party. After all, democrats and republicans have lost face. Meanwhile, Greenpeace has ideas that should appeal to many Americans, maybe 99%. Already, as things stand, an entire country has roundly endorsed The Greenpeace Solution. Post Script: A study – co-authored by Mark Z. Jacobson (professor of civil and environmental engineering, Stanford University) and Mark A. Delucchi (research scientist, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis) – “analyzing what is needed to convert the world’s energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today’s technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen,” Stanford News, January 26, 2011.  Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com.

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