The prospect of drastic climate change is back in the news. But, for all too many people it is just that, a news item. It is like other eye-grabbing stories: a bit scary, but also happening somewhere else and at some other time. Of course, if you happen to be at that other place or approximate to that time (the latest examples would be the Florida Panhandle in mid-October and Mexico’s southwestern coast in late October), things get more immediate, more real. But otherwise it is theory. Examine your own sense of urgency as you read on.
Back in 2015, when most of the world’s nations were debating a treaty on climate change in Paris, this time-and-place factor played a part in the negotiations. Specifically, it played into defining how to best read the “doomsday thermometer.” According to climatologists, a relatively small upward shift in the world’s average temperature—caused largely by a steady increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2)—over the next few decades could play havoc with civilization worldwide. But, how much of a shift?
Industrialized societies whose standard of living would take a politically rattling hit from any sizable cut in CO2 wanted to set the target for allowable temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. They thought that sufficient to their time and place. However, this was considered a starkly insufficient goal by those who live in the Maldives, Seychelles, Micronesia, Bangladesh, Marshall Islands, and other such countries. It would also of course be bad news for any number of other low-lying coastal areas (think lower Manhattan).
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…