It’s Time to Declare a Climate Emergency
Planet on the Brink of Societal Collapse Due to Rapid Climate Disaster
Author: Nick Bain
Boston, MA: The Boston Chapter of Extinction Rebellion, the international movement calling for rapid & legitimate action to combat climate disaster, demands that our local and state leaders DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY and take steps to make MA carbon-neutral by 2025. On January 26, 2019, we will protest in front of Boston City Hall. The devastating effects of climate change are already being felt: forest fires are frequently ravaging California, high-intensity hurricanes are putting cities underwater more often than ever before, Arctic ice is melting at a disastrous rate, droughts and increased rainfall are separately damaging the food supply, marine life is disappearing, and we are only in the beginning. Meanwhile, global leadership hand-wrings and whispers about markets and practicality – it is time for we, the people, to demand action.
Current projections give us a 5% chance of being below a 2oC temperature rise by 2100 – the median projection puts us at a 3.2 oC rise[i]. This means that within the lifetime of children today, catastrophic temperature rises will cause the following: forests, including the Amazon, will dry up, forest fires will increase, and forests will become net carbon producers instead of carbon sinks; global food security will become extremely unstable, and this will spike food prices and threaten to leave millions starved as crops fail; melting ice will put coastal areas and islands underwater and reflect more heat into the atmosphere. This climate chaos will cause roughly 1 in 9 people to become immigrants by 2050 – not just migrating from foreign countries, but within countries as people are forced out of flooded coasts and desertified areas.[ii] Along with temperature rises, ocean acidification threatens to devastate our marine ecosystems and thereby the planet. Ocean acidity has already risen 30% past pre-industrial levels, and by 2100 could increase by over 100%.[iii] Oceans produce between 50-80% of oxygen on Earth, and consumes more than 25% of the carbon dioxide – the ocean serves as the lungs of Earth, and if acidification continues to rapidly increase, the marine life, which our oceans’ functions depend upon, will be destroyed.[iv]