2019 was heralded as the year that ended climate change denialism. Enter a new era, where we must face a new threat: inaction on climate change.
Just over a week ago I published a short writeup on my twitter feed explaining how an enormous fountain in our town was an outsised contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in our city. This was due to the sheer volume of electicity used to power the monstrous pumps that spewed a steady stream of water 6 stories into the air.
Following this tweet, I received a steady stream of hate mail, angry responses on social media and even some casual threats of violence. Clearly I had struck a chord. The reality is, every single person who responded to me or sent me hate mail will never have to face the reality of what climate change means. Many of them are actively working to prevent action on the issue. We’ve moved past the age of denialism, and into the age of inaction. I’ve taken several of the most common excuses for inaction on climate change and will address them here.
- China Isn’t Reducing Their Emissions So Nothing We Do Will Make A Difference
China IS doing something. This year will mark the year that China introduces a comprehensive emissions trading system that will aim to reduce their emissions over the coming decades. Meanwhile our current provincial government is suing the federal government over a paltry carbon tax.
- Small Municipalities Can’t Make A Difference
Again, untrue. Ever since the United States of America withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement 289 cities and counties across the USA have joined the “We’re Still In” Initiative to uphold the Paris Climate Accord. This initiative represents nearly half of the total US economy and its all thanks to municipalities taking the lead
- People Will Lose Their Jobs If We Act Too Quickly
People are already losing their jobs in the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile the renewable energy sector is experiencing double digit growth. And if for some inexplicable reason you’re concerned about the stock market, even big banks are beginning to divest from the fossil fuel industry
- Ontario’s emissions are Carbon Free! Reducing Electricity Use Does Nothing (Ontario Only)
Ontario’s emissions are not carbon free. Currently a sizable portion of our electrical grid is supported by natural gas plants. While better than some other sources of electricity it still emits GHG. As of writing this article (2020-01-17 12:30PM) Ontario is currently emitting 73G of CO2eq per KWH. There is actually reason to believe that this number could be much higher due to the methane release during the extraction of natural gas. If you’re outside of Ontario you might be able to see your local emissions rate here
- You Use Fossil Fuels So You’re a Hypocrite!
Perhaps the fact that we are required to use fossil fuels to participate in society is a really good reason to criticize their use.
If you’ve got some other excuses for not taking action on climate change, I’d love to hear them! If I get enough I’ll be sure to write a follow up article.
As a final note, I’d like to say a couple things:
First, many of you know that social media is a pretty toxic place for discussing climate change issues. Currently I rely mostly on twitter for reaching out to my readers, that being said I would like to use it as little as possible. I would like to encourage you to follow me on twitter if you aren’t already, also consider signing up to the newsletter so you never miss an article. Thanks so much for your consideration. And I look forward to 2020 being a year of climate action!