The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a 3,500 page report this month the UN Secretary-General characterized as “code red for humanity.” Atmospheric levels of CO2 have not been this high in 2 million years, oceans have risen an average of 8 inches over the last century, heatwaves are hotter and longer lasting, and we are perilously close to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. The report is the product of 10 years of research completed by hundreds of scientists. The conclusion is clear: there is zero time to waste.
It’s clear that dangerous climate change is happening now. Wildfire season is already in uncharted territory this year with over 1M acres burned. Nearly 90% of California is suffering from extreme or exceptional drought, as is 64% of the American West. Only 2 years earlier, atmospheric rivers created historic flooding in Sonoma Co.
As the greatest historical contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. must lead the way by cutting our emissions by at least 50% by 2030, beginning now. We already have the technology to accomplish this, now we just need the political will. The IPCC report is a warning; it’s not a death sentence. Working together we can prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change, but we must act now.