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October 14, 2018

Still think you don't have time?

Part 5 of a Series on the Environment from the Question Line Duo

In a way, you're right. We are out of time. It's literally now or never.

The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a consortium of world-renowned scientists, announced last Monday, October 8: If the world community doesn't reduce carbon emissions drastically starting now, millions of people across the planet will suffer dire consequences in the next 22 years.

It's going to take all of us individually making many serious changes in our daily habits, and it's going to take extreme multifaceted action from governments, particularly the U.S. and China — the world's two largest polluters affecting climate change. (Each Country's Share of CO2 Emissions)

First, we urge all of our U.S. citizens again:

This November, vote for folks that will take seriously the need to address climate change now. If we continue to allow our policies to promote and support the use of coal and fossil fuels rather than environmentally-sustainable energy sources, we are actually doomed. None of the other political issues will matter if our homes, if entire nations, are destroyed. They won't matter if food and water are made scarce.

Fellow U.S. citizens, we urge you, hell, we are now begging you to put the environment at the top of your priority list when deciding how to vote in this November's U.S. elections. And we implore you further still to vote in every local, state and national election going forward.

Find out where candidates stand on the environment here:

And here:

To our friends in Brazil:

In your run-off presidential election coming up in a few weeks, please consider the environment when voting.

To all of our Perelandra friends around the world:

We ask the same when facing your elections. Find out where your candidates stand on the environment and climate change at every level of government, and make the environment the top priority.

It's going to take all of us to turn around this problem.

If you feel this doesn't issue really apply to you . . . If you think someone is going to magically fix this or that it's all hype . . . If the thought, "I'm not going to be around in 2040, what do I care?" has crossed your mind . . . We'll remind you now that entire regions of the planet are already being affected. For years, islands have been disappearing, forcing people to find a new home, a new country that will give them the space to relocate permanently.

Large cities are now running out of water. The photos, newsreels and personal posts online keep fresh in our minds the destruction of just the past 6 weeks: typhoons in China and Japan, the devasting Indonesian tsunami, catastrophic hurricanes in the U.S. Entire cities wiped out. It's not a fluke.

As if what we've said so far wasn't bleak enough: If you're not a fan of humans and think, "Too bad, but hey, population control," remember it's not only people. Plants and animals in the oceans and on land are being decimated as well.

If you have other priorities, want resources and efforts spent somewhere other than the environment, look at the reality of where our resources are going: recovery, rebuilding, clean-up, crisis control, emergency services. It's more than federal spending, it also costs your state and local governments, and if you or your employer are hit, it directly affects your pocketbook.

Learn More About the New Report

From William Brangham, PBS Newshour, World needs to make near-revolutionary change to avoid imminent climate disaster. Is there hope?:

The U.N.'s latest report put together by over 90 authors and editors from over 40 countries is probably the starkest, most dire warning yet about the severity of climate change and the cost of inaction.

The report says that, unless the world immediately begins reducing the burning of coal and oil and gas that drive up global temperatures, the world will suffer tremendous consequences. By as early as 2040, just 22 years from now, the U.N. says global food supplies will be threatened by increasing droughts and heat waves.

Low-lying nations could be flooded by rising sea levels, potentially triggering huge flows of refugees. Fierce storms and wildfires will grow in intensity, costing billions in damages and lives lost.

To keep even more drastic impacts at bay, the U.N. report urges the governments of the world to cut their carbon emissions enough to limit global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. That's about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. But that would take a near revolutionary change in how the industrialized world creates electricity, grows food and moves people and goods around.

The U.N. acknowledges that, "There is no documented historic precedent for the changes needed to prevent even worse disasters from coming."

As I mentioned, today's report is to date one of the strongest calls to action.

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