Capturing our planet’s point of no return

Greenpeace India has put together a collection of photographs which capture some of the devastating impacts climate change is already having on the planet alongside images of some of the main perpetrators: fossil fuel-burning power plants and coal mines.

Author Anna Rees, 01.30.13

Greenpeace India has put together a collection of photographs which capture some of the devastating impacts climate change is already having on the planet alongside images of some of the main perpetrators: fossil fuel-burning power plants and coal mines.

The pictures detail the aftermath of extreme weather patterns and natural disasters such as the bushfires in Australia and Hurricane Sandy in the US alongside visual documentation some of the big climate change culprits like coal mines in Indonesia and Canada.

The duality of these images (the effects of climate change coupled with the big business ventures that contribute substantially to it) highlights the hypocrisy that economic motives still outrank conservation aims when it comes to addressing climate change and domestic environmental policies. This, in turn, makes renowned climate economist Nicholas Stern’s comments last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos even more prescient.

A former chief economist at the World Bank (who in 2006 published “Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change” what was then a definitive assessment of climate change’s impact on economics), Stern last week adjusted his position, stating that in fact he had underestimated the impact of climate change on economics and the outlook is much more dire:

Via Grist.org: In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: “Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.”

The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are “on track for something like four “.

Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, “I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise.” … “This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential.”

Tell me again why economic motives still seem to outweigh the need to adopt climate friendly policies?! Check out the mind-boggling image gallery and accompanying Greenpeace report here.

Author: Anna Rees/ RESET editorial

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