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Ominous warnings

Published: Sunday, April 13, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released its most recent report and, despite well-funded derision from the ultra-conservative Heartland Institute in Forbes Magazine, its warnings are even more ominous to those of us immersed in climate change science. Yet, thanks to Heartland and its ilk, this latest report will probably receive the same response all previous reports have, little media attention and virtually no policy impact. 

In 2009, Dr. James Hansen, one of our most eminent climate scientists, wrote a book warning of the potential for climate catastrophe and the collapse of human civilization if we continued with business as usual. A careful reading of his work and even casual scrutiny of our economic trends makes clear that this was not hyperbole. Five years later, the situation is worse. Global greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, and the tipping points he warned of leading to runaway climate change are palpably closer.

Waiting for public officials and business leaders to tell us what to do – even to think – is suicidal. Only urgent, grassroots activism is going to save the day and our human civilization with it. I strongly recommend everyone reads “Storms of my Grandchildren” by James Hansen, then look up this week’s Slate article summarizing the IPCC 2014 report. Then, critically, get involved in the local activities of 350.org and Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

Those who get their science from business magazines will have much to answer for when our global human ecosystem struggles with collapse. 

Donovan C. Wilkin

Woodstock

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