Entire Nations Could be Wiped Off the Face of the Earth

June 1, 2017 4 Comments

“Entire Nations Could be Wiped Off the Face of the Earth”….by rising sea levels, if global warming is not reversed.

Yes, that could happen, but it didn’t.

Let me add a couple of words from the quote, to put it into greater perspective.

“Entire nations could be wiped off the earth by rising sea levels, if global warming is not reversed by 2000

Believe it or not, according to San Jose Mercury News archives, this was the statement made by a senior environmental official (Noel Brown) at the UN in 1989.

Yes. You read that correctly. 1989

I am unsure if it is a blessing or a curse to have been alive long enough to hear about the “death of the earth”. Year after year. Decade after decade. “Silent Spring” was still popular when I was in elementary school. “The Population Bomb” influenced policy makers and educators into the 1980s even as it became obvious that population growth was not going to completely destroy the environment and cause near extinction of the human race. There was acid rain, the ozone hole, and many in between. Significant problems – Yes. Death sentence for the earth – No.

I am hoping I won’t have to go through another media cycle (perhaps months on end) about how the earth is going to be completely destroyed, but it seems likely. You might have heard about the President’s statement coming up on the Paris Climate Agreement. It will supposedly happen this afternoon (June 1st). In true showmanship form, the President has not yet let it be known whether he wants the U.S. to disengage from the agreement.

If he does decide to get out of the agreement, be prepared for an avalanche of dire warnings…from people who have probably not read the Paris Climate Agreement. I did read it. The whole thing. I briefly reviewed it in this past blog post.

It is a rather “vanilla” agreement whose signatories acknowledge potential climate problems and vow to take steps to limit the amount of temperature rise the earth experiences to just 2 degrees. There is nothing magic in it. There are no tangible concrete steps outlined (such as an immediate ban on coal mining). It is only a starting point for the signatories to further plan how the goal will be accomplished, in future meetings, in years to come.

You might recall that there was another climate agreement that the U.S. did not join – the Kyoto protocol. Neither President Clinton or Bush submitted the treaty to be ratified in the U.S. There were many dire warnings. What happened? After the housing boom of the mid 2000s, carbon emissions in the U.S. declined. Emissions declined so much that the U.S. met emissions targets of the agreement it didn’t sign.

How did that happen? Through invention and innovation. The natural gas boom has been a big win in regards to carbon emissions in the U.S. Which reminds me, how did we avoid the “Population Bomb” disaster? Through invention and innovation. Read about Norman Borlaug.

Whether or not the President stays in or opts out of the Paris climate agreement, innovation and invention will continue. Tomorrow, more renewable energy will be installed around the world. Tomorrow, Tesla will still be selling electric cars. Tomorrow, people will continue to recycle. Tomorrow, a more efficient way to manufacture batteries will be developed. I could go on and on (because I like to focus on the positive).

Yes, I understand the power of messaging and psychological effects of grand agreements, however, in today’s world, the individual has more power than ever to affect change. Everyone one of us can take steps every single day to limit our impact on the environment. I do. Everyone of us can donate to effective environmental efforts and renewable energy installations anywhere in the world. Are you?

If the decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement spurs more people into action (instead of remaining complacent, such as is the case for most people right now), then it could turn out to be a good thing. You can make a difference.

Meteorologist Justin Loew

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Comments (4)

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  1. Barbara Hogue says:

    Thank you so much for shedding some positive light on this topic! It is a refreshing change from all the doom and gloom in the media lately. And thank you for sharing what you learned from actually reading the Pact. Kudos to you! And I do believe that you are correct when you put the responsibility for change back into the hands of each individual and how important it is for all of us to be proactive in our daily lives. Small changes by all of us can most certainly have a positive outcome.

    Keep up the great work!!

  2. AZ1971 says:

    Sure, you COULD donate to renewable energy installations around the world, but why? The return on investment, i.e. the amount of energy produced for the cost of installation, is incredibly low and inefficient. This is because wind and solar are low density forms of energy, and also because they are highly intermittent with poor storage capacity.

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