Twelve years ago, I was the father of a nine year old. I had just passed the thirteen year mark of wedded bliss. As a nation, we had yet to experience the Obama years, and were enduring Dick "Dick" Cheney's Monster Truck Rally of an administration. Robert Downey Jr. had yet to make a splash as Iron Man and Nelly Frutado was still a thing.
Seems like forever?
Well, if you take that decade and change and flop it over the top into the future, that would tell you how much time we have left before climate change becomes irreversible. Allowing the maximum temperature increase one and a half degrees Celsius will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
I know. Look out the window at all that rain and snow. I wish we could have some of that Global Warming right now. Yuk, yuk, yuk. Tiny brains that do not understand the difference between climate and weather should keep their babble to themselves. For twelve years. Until we can stem the tides that come with rising sea levels and polar ice caps melting, keep your pointed heads under your tin foil hats and leave the science to scientists.
In twelve years, I hope to be meeting my grandchildren. At this point, I hope that I won't have to apologize to them for their ticking time bomb of a planet, left to them by people who didn't want to listen and who instead felt that global warming was a punchline to be used whenever the thermometer dropped below forty degrees Fahrenheit. Severe weather events, such as the hurricane to which our "President" responded by tossing paper towels into a crowd, are becoming more frequent. Droughts, floods, tornadoes: these are all part of our future. And worse.
In twelve years, I would like to take my grandchildren to Colorado. To visit. Not to escape rising sea levels. In twelve years, I would like to look back at this warning as just that, and not a prediction of what is to become of our big blue marble. While there are those who scoff at the idea of "giving up our cars and our jet airplanes," there are plenty of us willing to make sacrifices to keep our planet inhabitable for a few more generations. If that means we'll be listening to Nelly Furtado's new album on communal stereos, maybe that's the sacrifice we'll all have to make.