The Climate Emergency is Real. So must be Our Response.

In a historic move, the United Kingdom on May 1 declared a national climate emergency, the first nation ever to do so. This comes in the heels of weeks of large-scale protests by climate change activists in the UK spearheaded by the organization Extinction Rebellion, as well as the worldwide “school strike for climate” led by Swedish teenager Greta Thurnberg. At the same time, hundreds of local governments in the United Kingdom and around the world have been declaring climate emergencies. After the entire UK did so, another nation soon followed suit. On May 9, Ireland became the second nation in the world to declare a climate emergency. The emergency declarations are also being referred to as “climate change and environment emergencies” or “climate change and biodiversity emergencies”.

These new developments come when the tempo on the climate change issue is rising. In 2015, most countries in the world signed the Paris Agreement, the world’s first comprehensive climate treaty, pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But when Donald Trump became President of the United States, he opposed belief in climate change and declared he would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The Democratic Party and the many Democrats running for the 2020 race have since put climate change at the top of their agenda. Newcomer (D) Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pushing the Green New Deal, a comprehensive action plan for the United States to combat climate change. Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has proposed her $2 trillion green manufacturing program, while Democratic front runner for nomination as Presidential candidate Joe Biden has unveiled his own plan to pour $1.7 trillion into achieving 100% clean energy by 2050. Spurring the climate change movement is a special report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, issued on October 8, 2018, which stated that the world only has 12 years to take action to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels.

The last year has also seen climate action spreading from the grassroots. 15 year old Greta Thurnberg was one of the first to act. In August 2018, she began to skip school to protest against climate change outside the Swedish Parliament. Following her example, students all over the West started doing so, resulting in the School Strike for Climate. This was followed by the newly-formed group Extinction Rebellion launching a campaign of mass civil disobedience in Britain, causing widespread disruption in the country in April. Their campaign led UK’s main opposition Labour Party to call for a declaration of climate emergency, which Parliament agreed to on May 1.

This announcement can be considered a big step forward. It seems the efforts of the protesters have already borne fruit. But the historic move by the UK parliament is largely symbolic. The declaration only calls for the country to consider climate change an emergency, but no proposals for what has to be done about it have followed yet. This stands in contrast to most other declarations of emergency by the UK government over things like natural disasters or terror threats. So if the action is only on paper, we cannot be sure that real change is going to come as a result. But the decision to declare climate change an emergency is still a radical one without precedent. It could pave the way for real changes in the world’s approach to climate change.

Climate change is clearly not the usual sort of emergency. When we have a natural disaster, like a hurricane making landfall, or a terror attack leading the country to be on high alert, the problems on hand are immediate and require immediate action. But modern man made global climate change is a long-term problem. Its consequences are going to play out very, very gradually. This explains why the UK climate emergency declaration carries no policy proposals with it. We can take our time to find and implement solutions. Question then arises; is the terminology being used here appropriate?

Climate change is a very serious problem but the word “emergency” invokes urgency, a situation in which something bad is imminent. It can be considered synonymous with “crisis”. When a nation declares an emergency, it is usually over a crisis happening right there and then. Climate change enhances many short-term risks like natural hazards, but by itself, it doesn’t look like it has become critical yet. Our concerns are mostly about what climate change is going to bring in the future. The effects of climate change are likely to be very, very bad for the world, but their manifestation will take a while.

The gradual nature of the issue is probably what is preventing people from being concerned about climate change enough to take action right now. While unmitigated climate change, by all reasonable expectations, will ultimately bring catastrophe to the world, Can it really be called an urgent crisis right now?

The answer is yes.

Both the UK and Ireland’s emergency declarations are not over the effects of climate change. They are over the causes. Global warming is happening because of human activities but it does not happen alongside those activities. The emission of greenhouse gases does not immediately change the climate, nor does the climate get back to normalcy when the emissions are halted. Our actions carry long-term consequences for the climate. The climate change catastrophes of the future will be caused, in large part, by what we are doing now, not just what we will be doing in future. Also, climate change mitigation is a very difficult endeavor. The sooner we start on it, the more we can get it done. To understand this better, we need to look at how it is that human activity is changing the climate.

Planet Earth bathes in the light coming from the Sun, which carries a great amount of energy. When this sunlight, which passes through air, reaches the Earth’s surface, some 30 percent of it is reflected but the rest is absorbed. When sunlight is absorbed, its energy is turned into heat, so the Earth warms up. The heat does not remain in the Earth for long, however, because it all eventually turns into infrared radiation (heat rays) that escapes back into outer space. In this way, the Earth cools itself to counteract the warmth coming from the Sun.

Like sunlight, the Earth’s gaseous atmosphere allows infrared radiation to pass through, but not all of it. Different gases in the atmosphere can, to varying degrees, absorb infrared radiation and therefore the heat given off by the Earth while at the same time letting sunlight pass by. The heat the gas molecules absorb then is passed into the surrounding air. As a result, the atmosphere warms up and heat is retained by planet Earth for some time instead of immediately dissipating into space, elevating the world’s temperature. This is known as the greenhouse effect. Oxygen and nitrogen, the gases that make up most of the atmosphere, have negligible ability to absorb infrared. Water vapor does so to a small extent. Carbon dioxide is a strong absorber of infrared and methane is extremely strong. These greenhouse gases are naturally present in the atmosphere and prevent the world from freezing over, keeping the climate the way it is.

But human activity is increasing the greenhouse effect by releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide (CO2). The energy that powers civilization comes mostly from the burning of carbon fuels, especially fossil fuels, which results in the production of CO2 as a waste product. The amount of fossil fuels available for energy production is huge, since they all have been produced by burial of organic matter throughout Earth’s history. We are also releasing a lot of methane through many ways such as agriculture and drilling. As a result, the atmosphere is getting warmer and the climate is changing, which will radically alter the Earth’s entire natural environment. The consequences for humanity and life on Earth will be drastic.

Greenhouse gas emissions have a long-term effect. Many other environmental problems like air and water pollution tend to be short-term. For example, when industrial waste is being poured into rivers, the resulting pollution sets in rapidly and continues only as long as the dumping of waste continues. If regulations are implemented to stop industries from doing this, the river becomes clean after a short time. That is not the case with the ways we are changing the chemical make-up of the earth’s atmosphere.

Firstly, it takes a long time for newly-emitted greenhouse gases to heat up the atmosphere. Most of the carbon dioxide we have put into the atmosphere was put there very recently and according to scientists, it will take that CO2 decades to fully heat up the Earth. Everything takes time. However, heat travels through a planet’s atmosphere very rapidly. The reason why it takes the climate of Earth so long to respond to changes in Earth’s energy balance is due to 70 percent of our planet being covered in oceans. The oceans have a lot of mass and water is an extremely potent absorber of heat. When the greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are raised, the extra heat that they absorb is quickly sucked up by the ocean. This continues for some time until the oceans are at their full capacity and the newcomer greenhouse gases can finally give off all the heat they absorb to the atmosphere.

Scientists estimate that this time lag for the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere is somewhere around 40 years. That means that all the CO2 people emitted by the 1970s must be achieving their full effect only now and that the CO2 we have already emitted so far are going to continue raising the Earth’s temperature for a long time afterwards.

Secondly, greenhouse gases tend to stay in the atmosphere for a long time. Methane usually lasts a few decades. Carbon dioxide tends to last centuries. There are some ways through which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, especially through absorption by trees, but this happen very slowly, especially now that human beings are causing widespread deforestation. So the CO2 we have emitted will stay for a long time, which means that even if we stop our climate-changing activities right now, the damage we have caused already will be playing itself out for a very long time.

The goal of today’s climate change movement is to prevent ourselves from causing even more lasting harm. That is the message the youth movement, which sees itself as representing future generations, is sending. It is the people of tomorrow who will suffer from what we are doing today. It is the momentum in climate change that we have to watch out for, much like the momentum in a moving train which makes it take a long time to come to a stop after the engineer presses on the brakes.

An analogy for the climate emergency can be stated in these terms. Suppose there is a train going at 70 miles per hour when the engineer sees that a giant boulder rolled down from a hill and was resting on the tracks a few miles ahead. If the train crashes with the boulder, there will be a great accident. Now, if the engineer hits the brakes, it will take the train minutes to stop, during which time it would have continued traveling for miles. That means that the engineer has to step on the brakes right at the moment he sees the boulder. He can’t just wait for the train to be about to hit the boulder and say “Okay, now we have an emergency and I have to respond”. The emergency begins as soon as the boulder is spotted. It is the same with climate change. We apply brakes now or we will crash into the boulder.

So this is the situation to which the world is waking up. But there is also something else for the world to be worried about, a very, very grave possibility.

In our future climate prospects, there is a scenario with terrifying implications. So far, climate change seems to be something which is being directly caused by human beings. How much it happens correlates with how much we are doing it. It is like if there is a group of large statues and a man is trying to topple them all. He grabs hold of one statue and pushes it with all its might, tipping it over. Then he has to repeat the process for all the other statues. When he is in the process of doing it, you can save the statues that remain by stepping in and stopping the man. But imagine if all the statues were aligned closely together in a row. Then the man just has to walk to the statue at one end of the row and push upon it in the direction of the other statues to cause a domino effect. Once he starts the domino effect, the pace of the movement thus caused is greater than your pace to try and stop it.

Horrifyingly, science suggests that this is the path that climate change could end up going down. If greenhouse gas emissions by human activity go far enough, we could unleash a domino effect with potentially cataclysmic consequences for the world. It is a scenario known as the runaway greenhouse effect.

This is how it may happen. As stated before, the atmosphere already has always contained a quantity of greenhouse gases, placed there by natural sources. Scientists fear that if the climate warms up through human activities, it will prompt the Earth itself to release natural greenhouse gases to warm itself up even more and that enhanced warming will generate greater natural greenhouse emissions which will increase the warming, and so on. This sort of process is known as a positive feedback cycle. But just what are the indications that this could happen? There are many factors that could power a runaway greenhouse effect, but we will look at the main ones.

First of all, like many gases, CO2 can dissolve in water (that is where the frizz in your soda comes from), as a result of which, a large quantity of CO2 is in the oceans. But the warmer water is, the less it is able to carry dissolved gases, so if the oceans warm because of climate change, dissolved CO2 will escape. Second, when climate change happens at the rapid pace we are causing, many of the world’s forests will not be able to handle it and trees will die off in great numbers and then decompose to produce lots of greenhouse gases, especially CO2 and methane. Third, carbon dioxide and methane are produced by biological activity, specifically by organisms consuming organic material and giving off these gases as waste products. The colder temperatures are, the slower that biological activity (especially by microbes) can happen. In the world’s upper latitudes, there is a huge amount of organic matter buried in the soil, which microbes can barely digest, and also locked away in ice itself. When the world warms, energized microbes and melting ice will also be releasing greenhouse gases.

But we are not sure how much. Scientists don’t exactly know how much greenhouse gas the Earth will be releasing and they don’t know which gas will be released in what quantity. If the Arctic permafrost releases only carbon dioxide, it will cause a small amount of warming slowly. But if the Arctic manages to produce a lot of methane, warming will come in intense and fast. Decomposing organic matter produces carbon dioxide in the presence of oxygen and methane in the absence of oxygen, which are known as anaerobic conditions. We don’t know how anaerobic things will be as the world warms up. All we can say is that methane is a really big danger for us.

So far, things are bad enough. But there is one scenario concerned here that could really bring catastrophe to our future. The positive climate feedback will warm up the world further than human activity is directly doing but there is a chance it could become strong enough to make global warming self-perpetuating. Scientists speculate that if the globe is warmed by human activity to a high enough degree, the Earth’s greenhouse emissions will rise so much that the warming they cause alone will be enough to continue the cycle, so nature will take the reins and by itself, cause the Earth’s temperature to increase, without the need for human input. Thus is the domino effect.

When the threshold that starts the domino effect, known as the tipping point, is reached, global warming will be impossible to stop. Human beings will have kicked a self-perpetuating process into motion and if this happens, profound results may follow. The face of the planet might be radically altered and humanity will be in extreme peril. We are not certain if the runaway greenhouse effect is going to happen, how bad it could be, and we are far from sure when the tipping point could be. But we have good reason to believe that if climate change ever reaches runaway stage, its ultimate result could be apocalyptic. If we don’t halt our greenhouse emissions in time, the world could end up experiencing the collapse of human civilization and even a mass extinction.

Climate change, therefore, is clearly the world’s biggest emergency. To fight global warming, we need global alarming. The climate emergency announced by Britain may be what can kick-start the spread of alarm in everybody. Before action comes the motivation to act.

The big question is, what sort of action do we need?

A largely unanswered question! We are still trying to figure whether it falls in the category of how global warming can be stopped, or how it can be reversed, or how we can cope with it. The first two types of solution involve tackling the problem at its source and that sort of thing is what we will be dealing with here in this working paper. Generally, finding solutions to big problems like global warming involves thoroughly studying the problem itself but also going beyond the problem in search for anything that can be of use to us.

There already are a range of options for tackling climate change. The climate protesters are not only pushing the world to pay more attention to climate change but are also calling for it to adopt plans of action already developed. Mostly, they revolve around the fact that we must curb human activities emitting greenhouse gases. Problem is; will to do this is lacking. Taking action against climate change right now carries with it great burdens, so much so that a large number of people outright reject most proposals and even deny climate change itself.

Taking a look at the recent events, when Britain declared a climate emergency, it fulfilled the first of three demands by Extinction Rebellion. Those three demands are:

1. “Tell the Truth: Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.”
2. “Act Now: Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.”
3. “Beyond Politics: Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.”

The first demand, of course, is the easy part. The second demand is a rather ambitious goal. The third demand is a sort of generalized plan to act upon. Now, Britain has taken the first step, but what comes after that is really the challenge. At the Paris Climate Accord, the agreement was that if the world warms to 2 degrees Celsius above natural temperature levels, what they define as “pre-industrial levels”, which is before 1800, then the results will be disastrous for the world, but things might be okay if warming is limited to below 1.5 degree Celsius, which is half a degree away because the world has already warmed one degree since 1800. So according to the terms of the treaty, the world has to absolutely keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally keep it below 1.5 degrees.

One or two degrees Celsius may not sound like much, since it is mundane for the weather to warm up that much in any given area. Everywhere in the world, the air regularly cools or rises by several degrees Celsius over the course of day and night. But weather is not the same as climate. Weather is a short-term affair, responsible for short-term changes, while warming of the climate means changes in the total average temperature in the world over time and that leads to enormous environmental changes. All over the world, people will be exposed to weather patterns they are not used to and because the climate makes the world, the world around them will change.

The report the IPCC released last October assesses our prospects and what we can do. Looking at current trends in greenhouse gas emissions, it estimates that by 2030, enough gases would be emitted to eventually warm the Earth to more than 1.5 degrees. The only way to prevent 1.5 degrees of warming is for the world to limit net-greenhouse gas emissions (how much greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere compared to how much they are removed) to 45 percent of now by 2030 and phase it out altogether by 2050. So according to the report, the world only has 12 years to act to avoid catastrophe.

Misinterpretations of the report are floating around, such as people thinking it says the world will warm up by 1.5 degrees in 2030. Some are saying the world is going to end in twelve years. Firstly, the world is not going to end (whatever that means) from 1.5 degrees and, secondly, 2030 is just the date by which it will be impossible to stop 1.5 degrees of warming from happening later. The momentum in climate that has been already explained is in play here.

We really should give some consideration to how we define terms like emergency, urgent, and crisis. There is a difference between a bad thing happening, and inability to stop it from happening, but the two reinforce each other in practice. If the time is about to come when something bad will become unavoidable, it is just like if the time is about to come when something bad is going to happen. Take, for example, how we define the word “refugee”. We take it to mean people who are forced to travel elsewhere because of adverse circumstances in their homeland. “Refugee” correlates with “emergency” in this way. People tend to be called migrants, though, when they are merely escaping from the distant risk of something happening, or are relocating because something bad is going to happen at some point in the future at the very place they live now.

So if a volcano erupts and people are running away from the lava and ashes, they are called refugees while if scientists predict a volcano is going to erupt in a few years and people are moving away in anticipation of a disaster, they are not. But let us imagine that there is a remote valley next to a volcano in a mountain range and the people of the valley, usually living in isolation, have only one bridge to allow them to get out of the valley. Now, the volcano starts showing signs of being active and people predict it will erupt at some point in near future. But then, something else also starts happening. The bridge starts to show signs of wear and tear and it becomes apparent that it is on the verge of collapsing. If it collapses, people will be trapped in the valley and will be doomed when the volcano erupts. So engineers are frantically working to save the bridge and as many people as possible are crossing the bridge and fleeing to the outside world. There is no volcanic eruption in sight, but shouldn’t we consider the struggle with the bridge a crisis or an emergency and the people fleeing as refugees?

If our story of the valley was real, there may not actually be many bridge refugees and the frantic emergency response to the crumbling bridge, because people are likely to go into frantic mode only when the volcano starts rumbling. It is human nature to panic at the sight of danger. Also, by leaving the valley, people would be making a great sacrifice. Same is the situation for climate change. Climate change may be a problem of the long-term, but the recent IPCC report drives home how short-term part of it is and makes it clear-cut that we need to respond now.

How can we do so?

Right now, the climate change issue is mostly a political issue. The recent climate protests across the world certainly focus on that one dimension. They all are calling for the governments and leaders of the world to take action and implement policies to tackle climate change. That makes sense because authorities are supposed to be in charge of human societies and so it should be up to them to stop those societies from doing something like emitting greenhouse gases, as well as generally carry out large-scale globalized projects.

We don’t only have to turn to leaders in order to fight the climate change battle. We can directly engage with the masses themselves. To make people exist in ways that are better for the planet, climate change campaigners can reach out to everybody and inspire them, organize them, and provide them with the tools that they need to alter life styles.

We can also pursue innovations and technical developments to help us do away with greenhouse gas buildup. Scientists and inventors can work to create new techniques for society to mitigate climate change while still functioning the way it has always.

But even with all this, politicians and governments can come in handy. They can fund, organize, and enable all endeavors in this direction.

As for actually combating climate change, our strategies for doing so consist almost entirely of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That is what everything hinges upon, but because the world runs on activities that emit greenhouse gases, all current ideas of curbing those emissions enough to save the world will require great sacrifice on the part of modern civilization as a whole. That is what the quagmire centers around.

All the enthusiasm and vigor the climate movement is showing be as it may, everyone still needs a plan. One comprehensive set of solutions being floated around for climate change is the Green New Deal. It is actually the name given to ideas about fighting climate change by carrying out a socioeconomic restructuring of society in ways similar to the New Deal that America was doing in the 1930s to fight the Great Depression. A particular Green New Deal plan has been developed and is being promoted by the Democratic Party of the USA, championed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez, at 29 years of age the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, is a rising star in American politics, part of youth rising phenomena. A self-described Democratic Socialist, her biggest concerns are both economic inequality and environmental issues, both of which are addressed by her Deal. AOC declared, after the IPCC report of October 2018, that the world has 12 years to save itself and called climate change “Our generation’s World War 2”.

It is very interesting of her to use the moniker of WW2 for climate change while calling her policy proposals the “Green New Deal”. America participated in both the actual WW2 and the New Deal under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. AOC seems to be paying homage to that turbulent time in American history in her approach to the current challenge of climate change, which is quite appropriate, because there is much from that era that can be copied for the battle against climate change. In particular, a lot of what the developed world right now is being pushed to do in order to stop climate change and protect the environment was already done in the Second World War by America and the other nations waging total war.

The big problem with reducing greenhouse gas emissions is that actions to that effect will either be very expensive or very sacrificial. But putting in money and effort and giving up on the luxuries of life were what the governments and people of the developed countries involved in World War 2 passed through with flying colors. Particularly noteworthy was the example of the United States, one of the main belligerents of the war and now one of the world’s biggest contributors to climate change. When America entered into war after the Pearl Harbor attack, the nation carried out a radical transformation of its economy and society that in many ways was an extension of the New Deal.

We will look point by point at how the various actions undertaken on America’s home-front correspond with what could be done today to help the environment.

They say that to get the world to meet the targets set in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, there has to be a complete overhaul of the industries, infrastructure, and economies of the developed world. Not only is the prospect highly undesirable for many, it also appears to be next to impossible to carry out in short periods of time, like by 2030. But that is where the participants of WW2 excelled. Examples include the Soviet Union moving all its industries east of the Urals and Germany moving its industries to rural areas. In America, there was a vast expansion in industrial production, including the industrialization of the West Coast, which resulted in the economic prosperity of the region today.

Much of this was possible because federal control over the American economy skyrocketed. It influenced almost every aspect of the economy, with the government taking over many industries, fixing prices, wages, and production quotas. Now people are considering government intervention as a useful tool to fight global warming. That sort of thing may be disliked by many but the example of WW2 shows that it is necessary and readily accepted in emergency situations.

And emergency is what we are in.

Most of the talk about protecting the environment and stopping climate change says that people have to considerably cut back on consumption. This is where most of the sacrifice is and where most of the unpopularity regarding environmental action rests. But Americans eagerly did this in WW2 with there being widespread rationing of most goods. People conserved almost everything, cut down on most of what they bought, and gave up much of what they owned to make effort to meet the emergency of war.

The word “recycling” did not exist back then, but that is what every American did in the war. Just about every piece of garbage was retrieved and turned back into something useful for the war effort.

The burden war placed on food production, including the diversion of transportation for troops and war supplies, spurred the people to get involved with agriculture themselves and practice it on a small-scale, with much of the population growing produce in any available space, including their backyards. These were known as “victory gardens”. They serve as a good model for policies on making food production today more environment and climate-friendly.

Transportation is one of the biggest culprits of global warming. Society runs on transportation and the energy usage that fuels it results in the production of carbon dioxide. Ordinary people are being implored to change their lifestyle choices to limit their personal CO2 emissions. One way is through carpooling. If people only drove around in cars together with as many other people as they can, there would be fewer cars on the road while people would still be getting to where they want. It can be difficult to always arrange this, but to save precious fuel for the war effort, carpooling was one of the patriotic duties of Americans during WW2. One popular slogan was; “When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler”.

In the 1940s, stopping Hitler and the other aggressors from spreading their rule over other countries was imperative in order to save the world from a dark future. Now we have to again save the world from a dark future, one of environmental catastrophe. When we ride alone, we ride towards the destruction of the natural world that we need for surviving. People back in 1941 were eager to give all they had, without complaining, to save their world. The same is possible with regards to climate change. People have the collective will to save the world once again.

Climate change is a very long-term emergency but the deadline rooted in the Paris Accord and set by the IPCC report last October is only a short while away. So, effectively, climate science has given us one decade in which to take the action we need. It is in this window of time that we can take radical measures known to us, affording us the time to search for other measures to fight climate change. Whatever those solutions might turn out to be, the strategy necessary for most emergency responses is take drastic action right now for a short while and let it give way to easier measures over time.

It is PPLDM’s urgent and heart-felt message to the world and its people. We have yet to shine light on how exactly we can solve the global climate crisis but we are fully aware that there is a crisis and we urgently need to do something right now. So, in whichever way we can, let us cut back on carbon emissions for the time being.

History shows that people can be mobilized for change and can make effort on a vast scale if necessity demands it, even if it is an emergency that has no short-term relevance for them, as World War 2 was for America since the country was so far away from where the invasions were taking place. Climate change is another global emergency that people have to mobilize for. It’s just that it is a very different kind of emergency, an unorthodox kind of emergency. We need to make people aware of this emergency and instill in them the motivation to combat it.

Collective awareness of the problem we are facing is where the big obstacle lies, though. It is an innate part of human nature to be easily responsive to aggression by other human beings, which was the fuel for the massive sacrifices in the world wars. But it is hard for people to be cognizant when their personal lifestyle choices are resulting in the build-up of invisible gases in the sky which slowly change weather patterns all over the world and turns nature into enemy. The spread of public awareness is a critical part of the climate change struggle and, by itself, it is a huge challenge.

There are many ways we will need to go about it. Comprehensive scientific literacy has to be imparted to everybody. Ordinary people must be knowledgeable about the highly complex subject of the global climate and everything that influences and is influence by it. We must instill in people a deeper familiarity with the natural world. Nature is the foundation of our lives in every way but most of us tend to ignore it because it is so far apart from us and, until now, we have always taken it for granted. But it is time for us all to get to know the entire planet more, what is in it, and how it works. Then the reality of global climate change will be closer to home to all. People must become better acquainted with the ways the world is already suffering from climate change and with the ways that it will in future.

Climate change is primarily a problem of the future. We cannot have certainty as to the precise details until that future arrives, but climate change right now puts the entire future of the world and of humanity in peril. So everybody must have the future impressed upon them. People must be roused from their slumber of living in the present and become more cognizant of the devastation that global warming will inflict on the world. Their connection with this reality is their future generations.

Through innovations in education and awareness-raising campaigns, we have to teach people of the predictions science has produced for how the world will be affected by climate change and people must know what these forecasts mean for their families and their societies. Every single person just has to look around and realize that the way the world is now and has been all this while allowed human beings to live a viable existence, and that it will soon disappear and give way to very hard and dangerous times for everybody.

A mix of public awareness and public guidance will give humanity the capability to avert catastrophic global climate change. The entire world has to be engaged in a universal struggle in which the stakes are high for everybody.

Scientists already have a mostly complete awareness of climate change and how it is happening (as far as they know), but, as stated before, are somewhat in the dark regarding the future course of climate change. Solutions to climate change are constantly being developed all the time. It is so far just a budding field. A big problem is that the solutions we already have developed are very difficult to pursue, such as giving up on energy consumption or overhauling the infrastructure and economy of nations. One way to get around this is to continue exploring and inventing ideas in the hope that we may find solutions that are easier or feasible.

The possibilities of all that we can do are endless. We have got everything from cutting down on the eating of beef to using renewable or nuclear power for energy to filling the oceans with iron to boosting the growth of phytoplankton that remove CO2 from the air. Who knows what ideas we could come up with later?

The climate makes the entire world we live in and it is the entire world that makes the climate. Pretty much everything on Earth, and quite a lot outside of Earth, influences the climate in some way and pretty much everything on Earth in influenced in some way by the climate. To find answers to our climate questions, what is going on and what we can do about it, we need to thoroughly investigate the way the world is and the way it works. The different academic fields we have to study are numerous. We need to immerse ourselves in the economic, political, social, technological, biological, microbial, mycological, botanical, zoological, geologic, hydrologic, and meteorological. All these subjects have relevance to the phenomenon of climate change and solutions can be found in all of them. So if people have to gain the knowledge for tackling climate change, they will have to study all these subjects and also scour through the basic fields that describe how the world generally works, physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

With the dire need for knowledge regarding climate change and its dissemination among common people, it is sort of ironic that the youth climate protests involve skipping school in order to demonstrate on the streets. One of their slogans is “What point is there studying for a future that doesn’t exist” but we will need to study in order to make sure that future exists. Our approach to the crisis of climate change must be knowledge-based, intellectual, and as inquisitive as possible.