The Goal and the Countdown Clock

If you are a parent like me you may wonder sometimes, with all the terrible pollution and destruction going on, “Am I doing enough? to protect my kids? to protect nature? Will changing my light bulbs really save humanity?”

Wonder no more. Simply follow the link to the one paper we all need to read, written by the world’s leading climatologists on behalf of young people who are suing the federal government and all 50 states, to win a plan for a habitable planet. This paper scientifically outlines what we need to protect young people and nature from dangerous climate change. It spells out the basics of where we are today and where we have to get to, and our deadline.

The plan spells out what our physical earth demands if it is going to continue supporting life as we know it. In other words, what the children are suing for is nothing less than the planet’s requirements for sustaining life into the next millenia.

In the paper, “Scientific  Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature” James Hansen describes reaching a tipping point soon, a “human tipping point” where we will begin to take drastic action to reverse our current path. Thanks for joining me to bring about that human tipping point before our clock runs out.

To protect our children and nature from the worst consequences of changing climate, we need:

  • 6% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions each year,
  • combined with massive reforestation, if we want to avoid the worst consequences for our children and nature, and
  • we might return the planet to a stable state by the end of this century
  • that’s if we start in 2013

Waiting until 2020 to start reducing emissions means the planet will require 15% annual reductions in GHG emissions.

So if 6% per year sounds hard, imagine what it would take to achieve 15% year after year. And waiting to get started means we will suffer more severe consequences in the next few decades than if we start today. We risk triggering “runaway” climate change as the temperatures continue to climb over this century.

Or look at it this way, the light bulb you change today to stop CO2 when we need to reduce 6% a year, counts much more than waiting 7 years and doing the exact same thing when we’ll need 15% reductions. Every little bit we save today grows like money in the bank, clearing the air for our kids’ future. So why not get started?

Have we already missed our opportunity? Possibly.

Does 6% every year seem too hard? Yes.

Doing nothing and complaining while the clock keeps ticking down seems too hard for me. I just can’t Not Do Anything! That’s not an option when my kids’ future is on the line.

I want to look my children in the eye and say, “I’m doing the best I can while there’s still time, and I’m getting everyone else to do the same.”

Because if we all do our best, we will be the generation that stops the clock on global warming. And then we can start turning it backwards!