This guest blog post was written by Launa Zimmaro, Energy and Environment Specialist at the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.
Two important reports on climate change were released in the past few weeks: the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report and the US National Climate Assessment. Together, these reports sound the loudest alarm yet that devastating climate change is happening now and will continue to get far worse without immediate, large-scale action. In the starkest possible language, these reports tell us of the looming, catastrophic impact if we fail to respond appropriately and quickly.
The world is warming at an unprecedented and accelerating rate, and the window to effectively mitigate and adapt to the increasingly destructive effects of climate change is closing fast—leaving no “reset” option. The effects of climate change are here now, impacting our lives, pounding the environment and threatening our economy in an unprecedented manner. These climate reports indicate that worse effects are to come and far sooner than we thought possible just a few years ago. Major efforts to de-carbonize our global society and transition to a clean energy economy must be made within the next 10 to 12 years. Failure to take bold action now will result in a future with conditions beyond our capacity to manage.
Because of the complexity and political difficulty of the issue, climate change has largely been left on the cutting-room floor of political agendas and the public’s concern. Deliberate obfuscation of the facts by fossil fuel interests creates a cloud of confusion that keeps the public in the dark. Fossil fuel interests outspend environmental advocates 10:1 on climate lobbying, and that money has been very effective at stopping work on this critically important, existential issue. Climate change will easily slip back down the queue of concerns unless the public insists that elected officials prioritize action on climate change starting now.
The League has fought hard for meaningful climate action since the 1960s, and we continue the fight now. The most effective action we can take as individuals is to call and write our elected officials—those with the power to act at the level required—and demand that they take meaningful action on climate change without delay. Our future literally depends on it.