Since the 1990s, climate scientists have been telling us that unless we suppress the rise of carbon dioxide emissions, we run the risk of crossing critical tipping points that could unleash runaway global warming, and precipitate the collapse of civilization and perhaps even our own extinction. To suppress those growing emissions, climate scientists and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have called on industrialized nations to slash their carbon dioxide emissions by 80 to 90 percent by 2050.
It is my contention that we are not facing the root cause of our problems, and until we do, there is no hope of solving the social and ecological problems confronting the world. The primary problem is the inner moving force of capitalism—its Achilles heel regarding the environment—the unending accumulation of capital, which means perpetual “creative destruction.” Produce and sell more stuff next year and more than that in the following year…for all of eternity.
By now, you’ve seen the photos. With over 300,000—likely closer to 400,000—marchers streaming through the center of Manhattan, the People’s Climate March exceeded the organizers’ expectations and my own. It made the record books and then some, marking a scale of protest not seen in this country since the beginning of the Iraq war.
HUNDREDS OF thousands of people--some estimates ranged above 300,000--gathered in New York City September 21 to protest government inaction on climate change, ahead of a United Nations climate summit held two days later.
1976: Viking I landed on Mars, the Ramones released their first album, the Soweto Uprising began in South Africa, North and South Vietnam reunified to become the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and Gerald Ford was in the White House. The same year scientists discovered that refrigerant chemicals, chlorofluorocarbons, better known as CFCs, were responsible for creating a hole in the ozone layer was also the last time when global average temperatures were below the 20th century norm.
According to new data on the climate crisis, such as new satellite mapping of the polar ice caps melting at an unprecedented rate released by NASA and the IPCC draft report leaked last week warning that if you stay on the present course, that increasing greenhouse gas emissions, there will be, quote, "severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems". We are actually now in a climate crisis.