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OK, so my previous post might have been a teeny bit alarmist. But, hey. We need a good slap in the face right now.

The good news is that those bleak scenarios need not become reality. The future has not yet been written. We are at what many call the jumping off point. We can stand on the edge of the diving board for hours, wetting ourselves, skeerd about diving in. We can succumb to cowardice & crawl backwards and give up.

OR, we can jump forward boldly and proudly. Who cares if we dive gracefully, cannonball, or belly flop? We will be in the pool where we wanted to be in the first place.

And, yes, if we don't jump in the pool, and quickly, the water will indeed rise and engulf us eventually anyway.

Hope for mankind is there to be found. Below are a few examples for those feeling exasperated and doomed. If we ramp up our efforts, the sky is the limit. Heck, we might even leave a world for our kids about which we can be proud!

Last night, MB had a poll in his Cancun wrap up. The results were overly pessimistic, IMO.

On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is the least optimistic and 10 is the most optimistic, how do you rate the chances of an effective worldwide agreement on climate change being reached in the next 3-5 years?
1
50% 2957 votes
2
20% 1207 votes
3
15% 937 votes

And so on until

8
1% 60 votes
9
0% 28 votes
10
0% 55 votes

In 5 years, the world will be a very different place, so there is no need to predict certain doom when we can't imagine what is to come. In 1997 were you also predicting the Patriot Act, a War on Terra, and a new cabinet-level Dept. of Hopeless Security?


• We Cancun, and we didcun

Sure, it might seem like we kicked the cancun down the road once again. {Next year, in Durban, South Africa we're gonna vuvuzela the  heck out of climate change!}

The truth is that COP16's result didn't seem as bleak as it initially appeared

Although the steps taken here were fairly modest and do not mandate the broad changes that scientists say are needed to prevent dangerous climate change in coming decades, the result was a major step forward for a process that has stumbled badly in recent years.

If An Inconvenient Truth had ended about 15 minutes earlier, without spelling out all the ways we can cut emissions, and undo the wreckage we have already wrought, do you think there's a chance in hell it would have won an Oscar?

The agreement sets up a new fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change, creates new mechanisms for transfer of clean energy technology, provides compensation for the preservation of tropical forests and strengthens the emissions reductions pledges that came out of the last United Nations climate change meeting in Copenhagen last year.

Progress should never be dismissed as inconsequential. Sure, I wanted more, way more. But a minor win is not an epic fail.


• Got wood?

High on the NYT front page today was this:Using Waste, Swedish City Cuts Its Fossil Fuel Use

By "cut", it means eliminated. Bad editors, bad.
Using waste products and wood debris to make biomass fuel has slashed their oil, gas, and coal use down to virtually nothing.

absfailwin

Kristianstad has already crossed a crucial threshold: the city and surrounding county, with a population of 80,000, essentially use no oil, natural gas or coal to heat homes and businesses, even during the long frigid winters. It is a complete reversal from 20 years ago, when all of their heat came from fossil fuels.

But this area in southern Sweden, best known as the home of Absolut vodka, has not generally substituted solar panels or wind turbines  for the traditional fuels it has forsaken. Instead, as befits a region that is an epicenter of farming and food processing, it generates energy from a motley assortment of ingredients like potato peels, manure, used cooking oil, stale cookies and pig intestines.

And don't forget the last, most appealing part.

"It’s a much more secure energy supply — we didn’t want to buy oil anymore from the Middle East or Norway," said Lennart Erfors, the engineer who is overseeing the transition in this colorful city of 18th-century row houses. "And it has created jobs in the energy sector."


• Did you know that new UPS trucks use 40% less fuel?

Me neither.


• Let the sun shine in

hole14sfdgc

If you want doom, there is plenty of bleak, awful news to be found. But it is tough to spend all the time learning about the things going wrong without realizing that we have begun to also get some things right.

If this is truly the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, do you want to have a fearful, grumpy scowl on your face as it arrives?

And wouldn't you rather go down swinging than throwing in the white towel in Round 1?

It is easy to be a pessimist when you know the enormity of the effects of climate change. Heck, why do you think it is such an easy sell for the GOBP to the masses? Do nothing & everything will be just peachy!

Conversely it is hard to affect change on a global scale with an issue as huge and complex as this. However, the worst thing we can do is quit right before we have begun to make a difference.


We are at the jumping off point. It's time to take the plunge.

Originally posted to The Laughing Planet on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 11:27 AM PST.

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