Our Emergency Response Today Isn’t What We Want to See in Our Climate Crisis

climate crisis

Windmill blades in Chalmette (2019). Photo by David Grunfeld

By now you’ve probably read the stories about how clear and clean our air has become due to the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. You might also have read how this is helping address climate change, since those billions of cars now parked in driveways are no longer creating the fossil fuel emissions that are driving global warming. Some are even calling this a “silver lining” of the pandemic.

Well, no. There can be no silver lining in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and a sudden global shutdown threatening long-term economic and social hardships not seen since the Great Depression.

But there is one lesson from this tragedy that can be called a bright point of light in a very dark, regrettable time, especially for coastal states like Louisiana: We can dramatically reduce emissions within the time frame needed to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change without destroying our economy.

That’s because what the world has achieved by dire and destructive emergency in two months we actually have decades to accomplish. It’s the difference between saying we have the run a mile in the next four minutes or walk it in the next two months.

Better still for Louisiana, it means we could avoid seeing much of the state south of Interstate 10 drowned by sea level rise, as well as benefit economically by embracing that transition.

That ray of hope was highlighted by Professor Katharine Hayhoe, the award-winning climate researcher and communicator at Texas Tech University — who, by the way, sees no conflict between her deep commitment to Christianity and science. (Follow her on Twitter, @KHayhoe.)

In a recent tweet she noted “if the changes we’re seeing today were actually permanent, that would mean we’d already be 25-38% of the way there in JUST A FEW MONTHS. That’s AMAZING!!!”

It’s amazing for three reasons.

Read the rest of the article at The Times-Picayune.

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