CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition had a panel this morning on the climate crisis (which I sort of listened to in a sleepy haze after doing some Nuit Blanching).
The credit crisis in the United States has been building for years. I can remember having lunchtime conversations in years gone by marvelling at the reckless amounts of debt that Americans seemed prepared to carry and speculating this couldn't end well, yet there was little public discussion of the problem or about how policy-makers should respond.
Many commentators saluted the “resilience” of the U.S. consumer without noting that it was all being done with borrowed money.
And now, the bill is becoming due. Years of economic pain will be the likely result.
To my mind, we're running a climate deficit by pumping carbon into the atmosphere to keep today's economy propped up (in part so we can buy stuff we don't really need by using borrowed money). The longer we put off meaningful action on reducing emissions, the greater the bill will be — and as this post shows, things are getting worse globally instead of better.
Andrew Weaver, a prominent Canadian climate scientist, suggested during the Sunday's panel that maybe a mini-catastrophe might be needed to capture people's attention. Others have previously made that argument.
Think of it as having your credit card publicly rejected in a very crowded restaurant. Except if you use the European heat wave of 2003 as an example, about 35,000 people died. That's a tragedy, not just an embarrassment.
Unless the science is very, very wrong, we will have to deal with our climate crisis at some point. The question the world must ask itself is how bad does it wish things to get before acting in a collective, meaningful way.