I can’t bear to think about it

Over the last few years I have written a fair amount about the problem of global warming.

But in the last few months I have felt barely able to bring my mind to bear on the subject – let alone write about it.

The reason is that the news is overwhelmingly terrible, both in our knowledge of the unfolding reality and our utter inability to focus on the hundreds of do-able things we might be doing.

So for example working backwards through my bookmarks:

Global Warming February 2016 anomaly

The monthly-mean global land-surface temperature anomaly based on data from meteorological stations only. The base period 1951-1980 is shown as a thick red line. The data for this February 2016 is shockingly exceptional.

I could report more stories, but in short, I am overwhelmed.

Now before you say “but its it’s not all doom and gloom” please let me elaborate.

  • I know that the world – and even civilisation as we know it – will not end if the Earth warms by 1 °C. Or even 2 °C. Or probably even 3 °C.
  • And I also know that ‘bad news’ is great news for the media that bring ‘news’ to my attention and so I experience a cognitive bias towards ‘bad news’ because I encounter it more frequently.
  • And I also know that there is good news. For example, use of coal to generate electricity in the UK has fallen dramatically (See Gridwatch for data)
The amount of electricity (GW) generated from coal in the UK. The data are taken every 5 minutes since May 2011. The decline is very striking.

The amount of electricity (GW) generated from coal in the UK. The data are taken every 5 minutes since May 2011. The decline is very striking.

I understand all these things. But overall, I give us – by which I mean me, my generation and this government – a massive vote of disapproval.

IMHO this issue is completely solvable by actions available to our government right now. But they are choosing not to do them. And I just can’t bear to think about the entirely avoidable consequences.

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