Rising seas, ocean acidification, melting ice caps, raging forest fires, melting tundra — everywhere you look, the news about climate change and the effects of a warming planet is bad. The world’s nations are continuing to spew billions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere despite all their happy talk about meeting the “spirit” of the accords they signed in Paris in 2015. Is there no respite from the dire news, no relief from the constant drumbeat of bad news and apocalyptic projections?
The conventional wisdom among climate scientists has long been that if we stopped all carbon emissions today, the climate would continue to warm for decades or even centuries. Think of climate change as a really big oil tanker. Even after the engines are shut down, its forward progress continues for miles and miles. That has led many people to throw up their hands in despair and choosing to continue doing what they have always done because if we are doomed, at least let’s have some fun while we still can. It’s like the band playing Nearer My God To Thee on the fantail of the Titanic as it slipped beneath the waves but if the message is that there is no hope, why not?