We are sitting ducks for the coming climate crisis, but ironically, the world today is carrying on as if we were merely in for an inconvenient bit of heavy rain. Many suggest the changes of the warming planet are nothing more than natural cycles and there is nothing to be done.
Our scientists tell a different story.
The latest State of the Climate report, released last week by the American Meteorological Society, confirms that last year was the warmest year on record for the land and sea since the industrial age.
The study, based on the work of 450 scientists worldwide, recorded the “toppling of several symbolic mileposts” in heat, sea-level rise and extreme weather in 2015. They tell us there is an irrefutable correlation between the carbon in the air and the warming of the planet.
The oceans, which absorb more than 90% of the extra CO released into the air, also reached a new record temperature, particularly in the Arctic, where the temperature in August hit a dizzying 8°C above average.
The impacts of these changes may have profound consequences for humans and other species. A lack of rainfall aggravated “intense and widespread” forest fires in Indonesia that belched out a disastrous amount of greenhouse gases. In June last year, a severe heatwave claimed over 1,000 lives in Karachi and severe drought caused food shortages for millions in Ethiopia.
This is a moment in human history when ordinary people everywhere have a chance to make a difference by two actions: living on less so that the most vulnerable communities around the world can delay an apocalyptic fate, and supporting a new, viable clean energy source: nuclear fusion.
We could choose to change now, or wait to find out whether we are next in the line to become a disaster statistic.