WHEN?

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By Anne T. Sulton, Ph.D., J.D.
JA Senior International Correspondent

This week, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report stating the damages to the planet caused by “past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia.”

Essentially, this means that people living now and our posterity should expect a lot of really bad weather forecasts. It often will be too hot – heatwaves. The soil and forests regularly will be too dry – droughts and wildfires. It frequently will be too wet – flooding. The too wet repeatedly will be accompanied by too windy – hurricanes and tornadoes. And sea water will rise, forcing millions to move to higher ground.

In other words, the occasional earthquake, volcano eruption, landslide, avalanche, and sinkhole might not be among our biggest problems.

The USA and other nations around the globe are taking steps to address climate change. For example, the USA’s Biden-Harris Administration proposes spending more money on climate change related issues, including substantially increasing the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

This Administration also has appointed John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and is sending him around the world to speak with others about climate change. Last month while in London, Kerry stated: “And fundamentally, the struggle to tackle the global climate crisis is … about protecting and preserving the fragile world that we share. …  I believe we will get to the low carbon economy we urgently need, but it is not clear to me yet that we will get there in time.”

When – by what date certain – will we realize that the climate change crisis already has arrived, we are out of time, and most of the world’s financial and human resources must be dedicated to mitigating its effects?