For those who think that green action is a luxury, optional, and an after-thought, I will present here some links to resources created by a variety of organizations, for-profit and non-profit, exhorting all of us about the importance of developing and living in a sustainable and "green" world. As a bit of black humor, I will start with a reference to The Onion, a biting satirical look at this issue. The other references are traditional, serious sources of research and discussion:
A "humorous" article in the most recent "The Onion" online magazine states that global warming may be irreversible by 2006. That is not a misprint... The Onion article outlines a series of steps that are needed to avoid catastrophic climate change – all of them taking place in the 1970s through 2006, which arguably would have been the way to handle this crisis. The final paragraph, in mock controversial tone, states:
"I think the report is a bit reactionary, and perhaps even politically motivated." said Arthur Bainbridge, a climate policy specialist based in Washington. "Plenty of alternative models have estimated 2008 or even 2010 as the absolute point of no return."
Without the tongue-in-cheek, the United Nations speaks of the Green Economy in a report that is the "result of a three-year global research effort involving hundreds of experts, [and which] underwent a three-month public review before being unveiled.".. among other benefits, the report finds that "in addition to higher growth, an overall transition to a Green Economy would realize per capita incomes higher than under current economic models, while reducing the ecological footprint by nearly 50 per cent in 2050, as compared to business-as-usual".
Top business executives request that we all change business-as-usual policies, because we need a world that is "more resilient, more efficient and less vulnerable to global shocks"
The International Energy Agency (IEA) speaks urgently in its report, the World Energy Outlook 2011. It states that "Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system" In a fairly optimistic assesment (compared to others), the report says "In the New Policies Scenario, cumulative CO2 emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, leading to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5°C. China's per-capita emissions match the OECD average in 2035. Were the new policies not implemented, we are on an even more dangerous track, to an increase of 6°C".
Global investors recommend major efforts to fight climate change, stating that "Climate change presents major long-term risks to the global economy and to the assets in which we invest. At the same time, well designed and effectively implemented long-term climate change and clean energy policy ("investment-grade policies") will not only present significant opportunities for investors in areas such as cleaner and renewable energy, energy efficiency and decarbonisation, but will also yield substantial economic benefits including creating new jobs and businesses, stimulating technological innovation, and providing a robust foundation for economic recovery and sustainable long-term economic growth."
The World Bank reports on a need for a Clean Revolution, as follows: "We have to move on and embrace a new way of producing and consuming energy. We need to cut emissions and stop climate change. But we need to do it in a way that protects people's livelihoods, creates jobs and ensures worldwide economic growth. And to get there will take nothing less than a new, clean industrial revolution."
Leading economists see our failure so far to widely adopt dramatically greener policies and technologies as the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen. The Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change carefully evaluates our current economic policies and direction, and finds much that needs re-thinking in order to avoid major impacts on the world environment and economy.
What these organizations and groups have in common is that they have taken the time and have the resources to look closely at global trends, resources, and needs. As a result, they are more alarmist than most citizens of the world. Their words should be taken seriously.
In 2006 I started building the PlanetThoughts.org Web site to raise awareness of environmental issues, but I have been in the software field since 1978, working primarily on healthcare-related and not-for-profit organizations, but also for some general commercial companies. I have also long been a supporter of environmental causes.
I am an enthusiastic Tai Chi Chuan practitioner and teacher. This helps balance my brain after sitting at a screen for hours at a time, and lends some balance to life.
In early 2006 global warming and other environmental and energy challenges, as well as escalating wars in numerous locations, became central to my understanding of issues that our whole planet faces, and I wanted to do something with my skills to spread awareness and understanding of environment and energy issues, as well as discuss better philosophies of living, for greater satisfaction beyond consumerism.