'We have to act now'
David Suzuki: Cool solutions mean a hothouse planet isn’t inevitable
The research is profoundly disturbing. But the media coverage often missed or downplayed a crucial element: the solutions the report outlines toward a “stabilized Earth pathway.” This “would require deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, protection and enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, possibly solar radiation management, and adaptation to unavoidable impacts of the warming already occurring”.
Because our current socioeconomic system is “based on high-carbon economic growth and exploitative resource use”, the study’s authors argue that “changes in demographics, consumption, behavior, attitudes, education, institutions, and socially embedded technologies are all important”.
They also warn: “If a planetary threshold is crossed toward the Hothouse Earth pathway, accessing the Stabilized Earth pathway would become very difficult no matter what actions human societies might take.”
In other words, we have to act now. The choices we make over the next decade will determine our future and the future of our children and their children. We’ve already locked into substantial warming and are seeing the consequences, but it’s not yet too late to change course.
As University College London and University of Leeds professor of global-change science Simon Lewis notes, diagnosing global warming and its consequences is a scientific issue, but “solving climate change is about power, money, and political will”.
We must insist that politicians represent the interests of citizens rather than corporations. We must stand up to the fossil-fuel industry and climate-science deniers.
We’ve put off necessary action for too long already. Bold steps are needed. We no longer have time to spare.
David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and cofounder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from foundation senior editor Ian Hanington.