A BIG RELIEF

18 June 2020

  I think I’m going to sleep better tonight than I have in a long time. That’s because a big cause of my sleepless worry has been removed. You see, I’ve found that my greatest concerns have their root in anticipation: once the future, good or bad, is clear, there’s nothing to worry about, anymore. It looks like the future is clear.

   The cause of my relief, detailed in today’s “Guardian,” is that “one of the world’s foremost energy experts,” Fatih Birol (executive director of the International Energy Agency), has said that “This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound.” In essence, we have six months to prevent greenhouse gas emissions from rising to levels that will be impossible to correct. We got a little reprieve by the world pretty much shutting down for the Pandemic: carbon dioxide emissions in April 2020 averaged 17 percent lower than those recorded in April 2019. Unfortunately, as the Economy  begins to “open up,” emissions are climbing rapidly, and are already within 5 percent of last year’s levels. Inevitably, increasing use of motor vehicles and airplanes, and getting factories operable again, will keep levels on an upward climb.

   What can be done in six months’ time? Not much, and I think it’s safe to say that nothing will be done by us – the United States – although we are among the biggest contributors to the problem. We’re in the midst of an election that will barely be over in six months. If those who continue to deny climate change (and denying has gone beyond ignorance to stupidity, now) win the election, Birol’s prediction will become even more of a certainty. If they lose, there still isn’t anything that could be done quick enough to make a difference.

   Losing the climate change battle means that most of the subjects I’m interested in – wildlife, habitat change,  environmental responsibility, health care reform, immigration, social justice – are also losers. That means I have almost nothing left to worry about, so the climate change loss turns out to be even a bigger win for my stress level.

    Nights are going to be better, no question about it. But I wonder about the days. With no winnable battles left, what will I do with my time?


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