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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Monday is Memorial Day in the United States. It is a day reserved to honor those who have died in defense of our country.

But, now, with Global Warming becoming the number one threat to our entire planet, maybe it's time to repurpose Memorial Day to honor those who will die in the future from the destruction of Spaceship Earth. In other words, most of humanity.

Fifty years ago, the biggest concern was nuclear war creating Hell on Earth. Today, the threat is far larger because the outcome from Global Warming is identical. Everyone could see what nuclear war would do—we only had to look at pictures of Hiroshima and Nagisaki to know the outcome. Today, the owners of carbon in the ground are conducting a war to confuse and obfuscate and to give them time to sell their carbon before it becomes obvious what evil they are doing to our planet.

We are well on our way to killing the planet. The International Energy Agency reported on Thursday that:

  • Global carbon-dioxide (CO₂) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011. This represents an increase of 1.0 Gt on 2010, or 3.2%. Coal accounted for 45% of total energy-related CO₂ emissions in 2011, followed by oil (35%) and natural gas (20%).

  • The rate of growth in CO₂ emissions in 2011 exceeded that of global GDP. "The new data provide further evidence that the door to a 2°C trajectory is about to close," said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol.

  • China made the largest contribution to the global increase, with its emissions rising by 720 million tonnes (Mt), or 9.3%, primarily due to higher coal consumption.

  • India's emissions rose by 140 Mt, or 8.7%, moving it ahead of Russia to become the fourth largest emitter behind China, the United States, and the European Union.

  • CO₂ emissions in the United States in 2011 fell by 92 Mt, or 1.7%, primarily due to ongoing switching from coal to natural gas in power generation and an exceptionally mild winter, which reduced the demand for space heating. US emissions have now fallen by 430 Mt (7.7%) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions.

  • Japan's emissions increased by 28 Mt, or 2.4%, as a result of a substantial increase in the use of fossil fuels in power generation post-Fukushima.

What can we do to head off disaster?

The first step is to get rid of politicians who have been bought and paid for by owners of carbon in the ground. We can either get rid of them at the ballot box or any other way. The US is reducing its carbon footprint, but it must accelerate the process in order to do our part—the US is still #2 in emitting CO₂. That has to change, and quickly.

The next step is to set a deadline for China, Japan, India and all the others who are contributing to the rise in atmospheric CO₂ to start quickly reducing their footprint. We still import a lot of goods from these countries. We should block all imports from those countries at a date specific in the near future—if they can't provably reduce their emissions, we should block every import from those countries.

For example, we should declare that we will block all imports from China by 2015 if that country doesn't start reducing its emissions by at least 2% per annum by the end of 2014.

It's time we got very, very serious about Global Warming. Time is rapidly running out.