MM #90: Global Warming: The Results are IN! (Special Issue)

Note: This edition is a ‘Special Issue’ because it’s not on the topic of building your coaching or other professional practice. And, it’s going to both the ‘Mentor Monthly’ and the ‘Create a Life You Love’ subscribers.

I mostly quote from Time Magazine – as it’s a bit more credible than me ;-) Anything not in quotes is from me.

“Our current respons to global warming is like jumping
out a 20 story window and counting each floor as you go saying
‘so far, so good’ ….” – Anonymous

Conclusions

The Earth is heating up. Humans are contributing to it. Projections are bad to catastrophic. We’re seeing scary effects already. If we stopped all CO2 emissions today, we’re still probably screwed. Yet we’re making it worse. Any serious debate is largely over. Even in the face of uncertainty, it’s smart for us to take BIG action steps. The U.S. – as the biggest offender – must take action, instead of blocking action.

Is Global Warming really happening?

In 2007 the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has finally stopped hedging: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal”.

These findings have been endorsed by the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society (UK), the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a dozen other leading scientific bodies.

But are humans really causing it?

The above U.N. report stated there is “very high confidence” that humans have played a significant role by overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide (CO2). The report concluded that while the long-term solution is to reduce CO2 levels, for now we’re going to have to dig in and prepare, building better levees, moving to higher ground and abandoning vulnerable floodplains altogether.

Hang on…don’t ancient examples of global warming suggest that it’s occurrence in our time may be natural as well?

“Although this is certainly possible, it appears unlikely. While the causes…in earlier instances…remain unknown, scientists agree that the current rise in levels of greenhouse gases is largely of human origin.” – Time Magazine

But isn’t there a lot of debate?

“For years, popular skepticism about climatological science stood in the way of addressing the problem, but the naysayers – many of whom were on the payroll of energy companies – have become an increasingly marginalized breed.” – Time Magazine

And again, there are dozens of leading scientific bodies which have finally reached a consensus – not an easy thing in any field!

But if I have any doubt, I shouldn’t do anything yet, right?

As above, there is no serious debate anymore. But even if there was, wouldn’t just the chance that thousands of credible scientists are right, be reason to act – just to be safe? Call it an insurance policy. Here’s an 8 minute argument for acting that has had 3 million views on Youtube!

Well, OK. But will the effects be that bad?

Well let’s see. Floods. Droughts. Fires. Hurricanes. Sea level rising 20 feet. War. Species becoming extinct. More disease. Yes, it looks like they will be that bad.

But won’t it take hundreds of years for it to get serious?

Ummm….Hurricane Katrina?

We’ve been hoping that “the glacial pace of nature would give us decades ore even centuries to sort out the problem. But [nature] can move with surprising speed….global climate systems are booby-trapped with tipping points and feedback loops…..the slow creep of environmental decay gives way to sudden and self-perpetuating collapse.” – Time Magazine

But what if we take a bunch of action, and it turns out thousands of leading scientists were wrong? Or it was a plot by thousands of greenies to make money from scare tactics?

Then we might feel pretty silly. And the economy might take a hit. Oh no! Compare this to the option of not taking action because you’re waiting for everyone to agree, and the entire Greenland ice shelf melts.

Which course of action seems the most responsible to you?

The U.S., Asia, and the Rest of the World

The U.S. is home to less than 5% of the world’s people,

yet it produces 25% of the CO2 emissions on the planet”

- Time Magazine

174 nations have ratified the Kyoto treaty to reduce carbon emissions. (And I’m a little teary that the second-last developed nation to hold out, Australia, finally ratified it December 3, 2007).

The U.S. has not ratified the treaty, along with Afghanistan, Iraq, Brunei, and Tajikistan.

The explosive growth in China and India is scary – way scary – and in 50 years they’ll be the ones with the biggest impact. China and India seem willing to make moves, but Time Magazine says “they feel Washington must take the lead.”

“Bush has called for a new international accord to fight climate change to be in place by the end of 2008. But most of the measures he supports involve voluntary , not mandatory, emissions controls, rather than the laws with teeth scientists are calling for. …Bush explicitly rejected mandatory caps on emissions.” – Time Magazine

This breaks his 2000 campaign promise: “We will require all power plants to meet clean-air standards in order to reduce emissions of…carbon dioxide within a reasonable period of time.” George W. Bush

What can you do? 5 easy things:

  1. Change all your light bulbs to energy savers (CFL’s) – you’ll save money over the long run. Order them today.
  2. Move your thermostat down 3° in winter (wear a sweater!) and up 3° in summer.
  3. Call your utility company and ask for a free or low-cost energy audit.
  4. Turn off electronic devices you’re not using them, and unplug devices from the wall (yep – standby power accounts for
  5. Take public transport (and trade your car for a hybrid)

Conclusions

The Earth is heating up. Humans are contributing to it. Projections are bad to catastrophic. We’re seeing scary effects already. If we stopped all CO2 emissions today, we’re still probably screwed. Yet we’re making it worse. Any serious debate is largely over. Even in the face of uncertainty, it’s smart for us to take BIG action steps. The U.S. – as the biggest offender – must take action, instead of blocking action.

ACTION

If you’re not yet convinced that action is required:

  1. Watch ‘The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See‘ (8 min)
  2. Read ‘How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic‘, and The Royal Society’s guide, to get your biggest questions answered.
  3. Post your conclusion (or remaining questions) on the blog here. (Hint: If you like to debate – that’s the place to do it)

If you believe action is required:

  1. What can we, as a 70,000 strong SolutionBox community, do to impact the issue? Post – in bullet point form – the top 5 actions you think we should or could take. Post on the blog.
  2. Invite everyone you know to participate in this discussion by forwarding this newsletter with a personal note, or inviting them to the blog.

Cheers,

P.S. Got a comment on this article? Please add it to the blog.


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7 Responses to “MM #90: Global Warming: The Results are IN! (Special Issue)”

  1. Pamela McDowell Says:

    David,

    Thank you for starting out the year with a bang. We really need to bring our attention and direct our actions to global warming.

    Here are a few of my ideas:

    1.) Add natural power, heating, and cooling to your home – with solar (photovoltaics, solar hot water, passive solar heating and cooling), geothermal, wind power, etc.

    Also, we should be pushing our local governments to require passive solar and other site-specific energy efficient design in all new construction. (I currently live in the sunny Colorado desert and am amazed to see how few new homes employ passive solar or natural lighting – simple design features that would add little or no cost to a new home.)

    2.) Grow your own food and buy local produce whenever possible. Growing your own food is easier than you think and you can quit burning fossil fuels to mow your lawn – look up “permaculture” for some great ideas. Fuel expended for food transportation and production in industrial agriculture is astonishing.

    3.) Give up the commute. How far, really, do you have to live from where you work? Could you bring your work home (if it’s not already), move closer to work or telecommute more? If not, can you take public transportation, carpool, or take more environmental forms of transportation (commuter cars, bicycles, motorcycles, walking, skateboarding, etc.)

    4.) Turn it off or unplug it (as David suggested) – lots of electronics suck energy. How many times do you leave the TV or stereo on while you’re elsewhere. (I know people who have the TV on almost continuously – even if they aren’t watching it.)

    5.) Do you really need it? In the US we engage in recreational shopping – most items you buy have some sort of carbon emissions from production and transportation. Buy quality instead of quantity whenever reasonable.

    And one more thing…

    6.) Speak up – share what you are learning and doing with others (without being judgmental). Many of us still have that “inner teenager” who’s just yearning to fit in. When we learn all our neighbors are pitching in and slashing carbon emissions, it will be hard to sit back and do nothing.

  2. I am a Life & Leadership Coach Says:

    David,

    Thank you for taking up this issue. We are ALL in this together and the solutions will come from people joining forces and working together.Putting pressure on governments and local authorities is important and EDUCATION is another key factor; especially in schools and companies.

    1. Sit together with friends, family or colleagues and have a brainstorming sessions of what each of you know about the issue and can and WILL do to Save energy and Reduce waste. Use ideas from this blog.

    2. Check for ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS in your area/country and join them or serve their sites for ideas of what to do.(no need to re-invent the wheel)
    http://www.cleanuptheworld.org have some very good downloads with information and things each of us can do IMMEDIATELY.

    3. Re-cycle, buy products that can be re-cycled or are re-cycled. Campaign for re-cycling

    4. Reduce the use of plastic bottles and bags and packaging by
    Taking your own shopping bag, order water in bulk and buying ‘green’ products.

    5.Create awareness by discussing the issue and maybe organize or participate in clean ups in your area.(with the help of environmental org.) People are most inspired by working together!

    6.Speak to the principles of you LOCAL SCHOOLS to ensure that re-cycling and Environmental awareness is being taken serious and taught at schools. You may suggest the schools ask people from environmental organizations to run some workshops which can also be fun for the kids.

    7. TAKE the First Step TODAY. Change one thing, one habit that makes your daily routine more environmental friendly.

    Christiane Pohl
    http://www.christianepohl.com

  3. Yazmin Says:

    So good to have you leading this discussion!

    My biggest considerations:

    Choose to not support the oil industry, including the plastics industry. Realize how much energy is wasted in the production and disposal of throw-away items. Food Packaging etc.! As well landfills become sources of methane, a potent greenhouse gas instead of the carbon sinks the green space could be! http://www.storyofstuff.com/

    Remember recycling is not the answer; Reduce Reduce Reuse! Recycling uses a great deal of energy as well, and plastics recycling creates a noxious cocktail of greenhouse and other gasses.

    Go local and downsize! We’d do well to take some lessons from Cuba in overcoming the crisis of peak oil. http://www.powerofcommunity.org/

  4. Jen, writer Membership Millionaire Says:

    Maybe it’s not the result but the process that is going to be invaluable. If we’re doomed either way, maybe a miracle is in order. Personally, I think we’re going in the right direction. More and more people are paying attention to green living last year than all the other years combined. That for me is a small miracle already. In a way, we’re cooperating with one another and doing our best to help our planet.

  5. Kadawregree Says:

    Hi,
    My Name is, Edward
    great posts on here
    this is my site:

    http://hOWQsTK.spaces.live.com/

  6. Ashley Says:

    Seriously? This article threw all your credibility out the window. Do some REAL research not just siting what the UN says. There is a world of evidence against man made global warming. To say the debate is even largely over is silencing people. Can you say Communism?

  7. Hubberts Peak Says:

    I believe that Hubberts peak is accurate and that we are now past the point of peak oil. I understand many of the current events have to do with this fact and it won’t be long before the main stream media and population wake up and understand what is going on. For me and my family, we are preparing for the next generation.

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