The climate crisis is not a game, it is our premonitory future

“If we don’t act now, it will be a disaster. “We are dealing with the survival of our species… We must stop burning fossil fuels.”

Words of a fatalist, right? Probably some radical environmentalist working to undermine Alberta’s rightful place in the economic system.

The words come from Lucien Bouchard.. Canada’s Conservative Environment Minister under Brian Mulroney. Said in 1989. him Thirty-five years ago. Words we choose to ignore, as a country and as a species.

And now we find ourselves facing a very worrying future. The last 12 months of this planet’s existence have been the warmest in recorded history., much worse than climate scientists predicted and infinitely worse than predicted by climate deniers.

And the news, driven by the weather, ominously reflects where we are headed: droughts, floods, hurricanes, food insecurity, Heat waves and, let’s be honest, a possible civilizational and planetary collapse.

Big words. Scary words. But maybe we need to start saying them out loud because we don’t act as if they are not only possible but inevitable if we continue to fail like we have for so long. In fact, it seems that 35 years ago we accepted reality better than today.

Despite all the signs that we need to do more and faster, the current political conversation about climate is to do much less. Eliminate the carbon tax, eliminate the clean electricity standard, replacement being essentially magical thinking. Technology that does not yet exist. And continue the status quo for as long as possible.

Of course, the strongest resistance comes from those entrenched in fossil fuel culture. Those who have the most to lose (financially) from a rapid transition to safer sources of energy supply: $1,000,000,000,000 (i.e. $1 trillion) according to one estimate. And in a world that values ​​money more than security and power more than the future, it’s obvious that they are winning.

For them, winning is like a game. First hide, then deny, then attack the solutions, then make promises and then break those promises.

Despite all the signs that we need to do more and faster, the political conversation on climate is to do much less: eliminate carbon tax, eliminate clean electricity standard, write Joe Vipond @CAPE_ACME and Steve Bentley @TweetsBentley

Committing to reaching net zero emissions. Invest in renewable. Be a part of the transition. But after the Russian invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine sent oil prices soaring, there was a return to the drill, baby, drill attitude. Climate-friendly initiatives must be accompanied by massive subsidies from the government.. Technologies like carbon capture and storage either small modular nuclear reactors They have never been tested at scale.

An economic and political game has winners and losers. But a failure to mitigate climate change only has losers. Even petrostate politicians and billionaires lose if there is no civilization to enjoy and no food to eat. Pure blind, deadly madness.

Even among those who care about the climate, there is a reluctance to call a spade a spade. To say that everything we hold dear is threatened is considered “bad climate communications”, that we should preach climate hope instead of the reality we face. But now our back is against the wall. Our time is over. Climate hope has not yet motivated us to do the right thing. Maybe realism (not fatalism) will do it.

This is a call to our politicians, media, scientists and yes, even our oilmen, to recognize the truth and tell it like it is. To state unequivocally that unless we all act together, quickly and radically, to transform our energy systems into safer societies, the game is lost for all.

Overlooking the truth simply will not create the motivation to act with the urgency required. No one is going to give up that tropical vacation or buy a smaller, more efficient car just because, but we might do it if we know that our children’s future (and our own) is threatened. The same goes for government policies and corporate decisions.

Another summer is approaching. We need both the status quo and the fatality of losing. The planet will continue to tell us that we are on the brink of the abyss.

Let’s listen, act rationally and give humanity and all other living beings on Earth a chance.

Joe Vipond is an emergency physician in Calgary, past president of the Canadian Association of Environmental Physicians, and co-founder of the Calgary Climate Hub.

Steve Bentley is the digital content and partnerships coordinator for Calgary Climate Hub and host of the Climate Lens podcast.

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