The Main Issues 

Poverty and Climate

Richard Parncutt

2012, revised June 2016


If a hundred internet pages quoted him correctly, philosopher Meister Eckhart apparently once wrote the following:
The most important moment is always the present. The most important person is always the one that is standing right in front of you. The most necessary task is always love. (Die wichtigste Stunde ist immer die Gegenwart. Der bedeutendste Mensch ist immer der, der dir gerade gegenübersteht. Das notwendigste Werk ist stets die Liebe.)

That is without doubt a beautiful statement. The world would surely be a better place if people did these simple things.

In the following essay, I wish to argue that we can do even better. If love is our most necessary task, we must open our hearts. We must consider not only the present, but also the future. We must consider not only the people around us, but people from all over the world, regardless of their geographical or cultural distance.

Putting the problem another way: There are many problems in the world that we could try to solve. Of course we cannot solve all of them. Realistically, we can probably only solve a small proportion of them. Which problems should we focus on? This is an interesting question with enormous ramifications.

Should we focus on smaller problems that we are likely to be able to solve, or should we focus on the biggest problems that will affect the greatest number of people? Most people choose the first option, because they at least have a good chance of experiencing the satisfaction of solving the problem. They want to avoid the frustration of working for a long time with no clear result.

That is a reasonable motivation. In fact, without those people the world would be in a sorry state. I am thinking of those innumerable people who support local, regional and national charitable organisations to solve everyday local, regional and national problems. Without this generosity and volunteer work, our society would scarcely function.

I nevertheless prefer the second option, because I am concerned about the enormous numbers of people who are dying unnecessarily every year in developing countries. The scale of this tragedy is considerably greater than anything that is happening in the industrial countries. Take for example the US inner-city slums. They represent an enormous problem, and the US government is doing far too little to address it. Poverty is a frequent indirect cause of death in the US, just as it is in developing countries. But the number of such deaths in the US is small by comparison to developing countries such as Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, or Bangladesh. About one billion people are living in poverty today, all over the world. Of those, perhaps five million live in the US (depending on your definition of poverty), that's 0.5%. Many of the life-threatening problems faced by the poor in developing countries (e.g. tropical diseases) do not exist in the US. We must address poverty in both industrialised and developing countries; but since the problem in developing countries is bigger, we should devote even more resources to it.

We in the rich countries have missed many opportunities to reduce the annual death toll in connection with poverty in developing countries - and we continue to miss these opportunities. That is one concern, but I am also concerned about the long-term survival of humanity. Our survival may be theatened for the simple reason that most people are choosing the first option - the option of focusing on smaller problems that can more easily be solved.

Given this background, I want to argue for two main ideas. The first idea is that we should be devoting most of our time, energy, resources and creativity to solving the biggest and most important problems - whatever they are. To have any hope of solving these problems, we have to be consistent and persistent. We have to focus on the main issues and avoid getting sidetracked - no matter how important the distractions may seem.

The second idea is based on human rights - the idea that every human being has the same intrinsic value, and hence the same fundamental rights. The idea is that the main criterion for the importance of an issue is the number of lives that it will affect. For how many people is the issue in question a matter of life and death? I believe that the answer to this question is a clear indication of how important it is. We should generally be prioritising the issues in this way.

Under the following headings I will give some examples of the application of these two principles.
Contents: Ending poverty - Global warming - Climate denial - Human Rights - Why is so little being done? - Passive climate denial: Lying by doing - The bottom line 

Ending poverty

For a long time, I thought there was no solution to global poverty. Then I read The End of Poverty by economist Jeffrey Sachs (please sign the petition). Sachs calculated that acute poverty can be eliminated if the rich countries fulfil their pledge to invest 0.7% of GDP in global development aid for 20 years. At the moment, only a few countries are meeting that goal.

Reactions to Sachs were mixed. Some said it was a great idea, others were skeptical. I have read the skeptics and I don't believe them. Anyone who develops a project that is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people but will also cost a lot of money is likely to be criticized. They will be criticized by people with money who want to hold onto it, and by their sidekicks: people whose income depends on their support for people with money. But no matter what detail the skeptics focus on, Sachs' main point is unassailable. If you want to get rid of poverty worldwide, you will first have to do your economic homework. That means calculating what the project will cost, based on past experience. Then you will have to provide the goods, which means reliably supplying the necessary finance until the countries in question cross the threshold of economic independence. There is no such thing as a free lunch, as they say. If you expect poverty to disappear spontaneously, you haven't understood the history and foundations of capitalist economics. If you think it is not worth trying because the poor are inherently lazy or want to be poor (I started a Wiki page called victim mentality to explain this idea in 2013), you are making a faulty generalisation (I rewrote the start of this Wiki page on 15.12.2013) or jumping to conclusions. You can indeed meet individuals who are lazy or suffer from victim mentality - but because everyone is different and personalities are very diverse (that's a foundation of Darwin's theory of evolution, as well as modern psychology), it is never the case that large groups of individuals are lazy.

If people are living in poverty and they know that they can improve their situation by working, they will work. It has always been so. If someone knows of an exception, please let me know. Here is a surprising example. Before the British invaded Australia in 1788, the indigenous population did not have to "work" much, at least not from a European viewpoint. They had to find and prepare food every day, and make and repair their clothes and sleeping arrangements, which altogether perhaps took only a few hours per day per adult. The rest was cultural: rituals, stories, music, body decoration, festivals; marking births, initiations, marriages, deaths; trading with other tribes; resolving conflicts. They realised two things that Europeans have tried so hard to create: environmental sustainability and sustainable socialism. When the British stole their land, they lost their traditional sources of food and medicine, and in a very real sense their identity had also been stolen. Their response was to work to improve their situation. They fought the invaders, and when that failed, they adapted as best they could to the ways of the "white man". They worked in countless poorly paid occupations, fought alongside white Australian soldiers in foreign wars, fought for cultural recognition and against racism (even when the situation seemed hopeless), worked to create a new cultural identity, worked to get a western education and enter western politics, and worked to dispel the myths that had been created about their "laziness" and "godlessness".

Development aid is a form of global redistributionEconomic redistribution is about taking from the rich and giving to the poor - not violently, as Robin Hood apparently did, but within legally and democratically controlled institutions. For the rich, the amount of redistribution is small by comparison to their wealth or income, while for the poor it is relatively large. Redistribution does not benefit rich people who are just sitting on their money; they regularly lose some of it. But it does benefit rich people who are active market participants, because money in pockets promotes consumption, which is good for business (the "trickle up effect"). From that point of view, redistribution is "win-win".

But that is not the main reason why we need redistribution. The main reason is that without redistribution, capitalism is simply not sustainable. In unregulated capitalism, the gap between rich and poor (the wealth gap, as measured by the Gini Index) gradually increases, which is clear to anyone who has ever played the board game Monopoly. Capitalism can only survive in the long term if there is institutionalised redistribution. If you love capitalism, you really should be supporting redistribution. If you say you love capitalism but in fact only love you bank account, well, that is a different question.

How much redistribution is the right amount? I know of only one clear criterion. The amount should be sufficient to eliminate poverty, however defined. Because as long as poverty exists, capitalism is morally indefensible. No matter how you look at it, which philosophers you have read, whatever kind of denial you may be suffering from: any system that allows some people to get filthy rich while others live in poverty is clearly wrong.

Article 25 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." In other words, the United Nations decided democratically in 1948 to eliminate poverty worldwide. The decision has already been made. Since then, we have had two choices: either reverse the 1948 decision (e.g. by being honest about our racism and assert that white people have more rights than black people) or implement the decision. If you believe in democracy, there is only one option.

The main forms of redistribution within modern democratic states are social welfare and progressive tax scales. On this page I am mainly concerned about the global economy. "Globalisation" means that the global economy is increasingly looking like a single capitalist system. If we care about other people (do you?), it follows that we need permanent institutions of global redistribution. International law implies that they must be continuous improved until poverty is history. If we don't care about other people, of course, we can just ignore this or pretend the problem doesn't exist, which is what most people are doing.

Development can include many things:  education, literacy, medical care, disease prevention, sanitation, drinking water, farming techniques, democratic processes, the rights of women and children, conflict resolution. Rich and poor countries can work together to solve these problems. Of course poverty is complex: you also have to consider the non-developmental context, which includes global tax evasion, unfair trade, corruption, and environmental degradation. And of course a large proportion of development funding is spent on administration and research, and some is wasted or goes to the wrong people - but that applies to any other major project, or the money you pay for a MacDonald's hamburger. In spite of these complexities, Sachs surely pointed to the most important aspect. As long as the net wealth of rich countries is increasing, poverty can be eliminated.

At the moment, development depends to a large extent on private initatives. Perhaps the most famous and powerful of these private initiatives has been the AIDS work of Bill and Melinda Gates. I could make a long list of such initiatives and praise every one of them. But at the end of that list there would be a big "but". The "but" is that these initiatives are always partial solutions to the problem. The basic assumption is that poverty is inherent and will always be there. This is surely a very limited vision of humankind. The truth is that poverty can almost be eliminated. I say "almost" because the achievement of this goal generally depends on your definition of poverty. Another way to say this is: no matter how much poverty there is, it is always possible to halve it. Poverty can only be eliminated by national states working together to build a global system of economic restribution that promotes healthy global capitalism. Today, this is looking increasingly like a prerequisite for the long-term survival of humanity.

All we have to do is put the global development budget on the political agenda. But we are not doing that, and that can only be described as scandalous and disgraceful (I can't think of a better word for it, sorry). As long as we stubbornly refuse to solve this problem, but instead give just enough money to global development to ensure that it will never be solved, it is surely hypocritical to talk about morality, or to pretend that we are good people. If ET turned up and asked me "What is the matter with you humans? Why don't you look after each other? Can't you see that one in seven people are still living in poverty? Can't you see that millions are dying unnecessarily every year while you sip your cappuccinos?" I would be at a loss for an answer. The logical thing would be to request citizenship of another planet. The trouble is, there is no Planet B - a problem to which we will return.

Global warming

Unless there are radical changes, global warmingwill affect food production and fresh water supplies in warmer regions, gradually pushing up the death toll from hunger and preventable and curable disease if nothing else changes. This rate is currently about ten million preventable deaths per year. If that rate increases by only 1% per year until 2100, we are talking about hundreds of millions of additional deaths. Those deaths will be indirectly attributable to global warming. 

Before continuing, please try to imagine what that means. Every single death is a tragedy - not only for the dying person, but also for friends and relatives. Multiply that tragedy by 10, 100, 1000, 10 000, 100 000, 1 000 000, 10 000 000, 100 000 000. The scale of this catastrophe is quite impossible to comprehend. Psychic numbing may be a natural response, but we must be strong enough to rise above it.

Apparently, eminent Danish physicist Niels Bohr once said: "If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet." I hasten to add: Quantum mechanics is nothing compared to global warming.

During the past few hundred years, global CO2 concentration has risen from 280 to 400 parts per million (more), and global mean temperature has risen by almost one degree Celcius. For most of the past ten million years - while humans were evolving - the atmosphere was cooler and CO2 concentration was lower. These are hard facts, but the causal connection between CO2 and global warming is not: it is hard theory. Physicists know how to calculate the warming effect of different gases. There is no question at all that CO2 produced by humans is causing global warming. Moreover, almost all climate research has been consistent with the assumption that CO2 produced by humans is the main factor driving the current temperature increase. This assumption has become as obvious in climate science as Darwin's theory of evolution in biology. 

And it gets worse. Even if greenhouse gas concentrations suddenly stopped rising tomorrow, global temperature would continue to rise over decades or centuries (more). That is because the system is so big - it takes a long time to react to any change. The oceans have enormous heat capacity. But that is not the end of the story, either. It is hard to predict the final temperature, because natural causes of global warming will continue after human emissions stop. There are positive feedback processes associated with increased atmospheric water vapour; reduced ice cover; CO2emission from warming oceans; release of methane from melting ice, peat bogs and hydrates; release of nitrous oxide from peat; drying rainforests; more frequent forest fires; and desertification. For example, what if the Amazon jungle dries out so much due to climate change that it burns, which would then accelerate climate change? A significant global CO2 sink would  then turn into a significant CO2 source, with catastrophic global consequences. There are also negative feedback processes, but they are weaker.

This is a complex topic, but there is a simple summary. The burning of fossil fuels by human beings is kick-starting a long-term natural warming process that in the distant past was started by variations in the earth's orbit. When the positive feedback processes get into full swing - as they once did and they can do again - there may be no return to the benign climate we now enjoy. A billion people will be displaced by rising sea levels. Tropical regions will be devastated for thousands of years. 

Another way to predict future temperatures is to study the geological past. At the rate we are going, CO2 concentration will approach 1000 parts per million in 2100. That last happened about 35 million years ago, when mean temperatures were 15 (fifteen) degrees Celsius higher than now (more). That's what our descendents can expect in future centuries if CO2 emissions are not stopped soon.

The most reliable source of information about climate change is the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), because they bring together the sometimes conflicting findings and opinions of leading climate scientists from many countries. The IPCC is reluctant to try to predict what would happen if global mean temperature increased beyond 5°C, because there is so much uncertainty. But one thing is for sure: at that level we are talking about the greatest human catastrophe ever.

Climate denial

Some people refuse to believe that human beings can change global climate. After all, we are so small, and the world is so big. For the same reason, others believe that if human beings are changing the climate, the problem cannot be that serious. Still others believe that if humans are changing the climate, the problem is too big be solved. After all, the world is so big and we are so small. All three assumptions have been proven wrong on two separate occasions:
People think that global warming is a more recent problem, but in fact it is older. Scientists have known about it for at least a century, and serious research has been happening since the 1960s. Among genuine climate scientists, it has been undisputed for decades that burning of fossil fuels is gradually increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and mean global temperature is rising as a result. The complex detail of climate science has never seriously challenged these basic facts.

The global warming problem is remarkably similar to ozone depletion and acid rain in several respects. In each case, the problem was discovered and clarified by scientists, and it was scientists and engineers who developed practical solutions - which incidentally is clear proof that human survival now depends on science and technology. In each case, government regulations and global agreements were (are) necessary to solve the problem - which incidentally is clear proof that global markets must generally be regulated. In each case, there was (is) strong resistance to regulation from people who were (are) more interested in personal short-term profit than the state of the planet, or the damage or suffering they might be causing in other times in and places. In each case, the basic problem and its solution are simple and beyond doubt, but there are secondary complexities that denialists use to confuse people.

Climate change is complex, of course. Natural and human influences are always mixed. Genuine climate scientists know the details; others are not in a position to judge. But non-experts have freedom of speech, too. If for some reason they don't like scientific findings, they are free to publicly deny them. Climate deniers have been doing just that for two decades, confusing politicians and the general public.

Stopping global warming will cost a lot of money. The profits of the fossil fuel industry will be severely affected. But the climate deniers evidently don't give too hoots for the bottom billion. They know (or at least suspect) that global warming could kill hundreds of millions of people. But they consider their bank balance and political alliances to be more important. Between 2002 and 2010, conservative billionaires donated over 100 million dollars to over 100 climate denial groups (more). If those people cared about the bottom billion, they could have given that same money to international development or alternative energy projects. But they evidently did not, so they evidently do not.

Climate deniers are very creative. Ya gotta hand it to 'em. They write articles that are full of interesting facts about climate, but the headline is nonsense. They select one piece of research that seems to support their case and ignore a hundred others that do not. They invent terms of abuse such as "warmist" or "alarmist", just as creationists invented "evolutionist".

And the media help them. First, because climate denial stories are sensational. People like to read them. Second, because the media think that it is fair to publish both sides of an argument. The trouble is, in this case the argument has only one side. The mainstream scientists are as right as anyone can be about a complex issue, and the deniers are wrong. It's not fair to publish lies. Third, many media have adopted a "climate skeptic" stance or are owned by climate deniers (e.g. Fox News). No wonder the public are confused. 

Given all of this background, how is it possible that so many educated and respected people are still seriously doubting mainstream climate science? How is it possible that so many journalists and politicians are still being mislead by the deniers' sneaky tricks and stories? I can think of several reasons, but they are all about intelligence or morality. It seems that climate deniers have a serious problem in one or both of these departments. Otherwise why would they be risking millions of human lives for the sake of their freedom of speech? This is not an accusation - it is merely a logical argument. Or perhaps it is an admission of defeat: I am unable to explain the phenomenon of climate denial any other way. I am doing my best to be polite in the face of the worst imaginable provocation. If there was a Superman, he would be fighting against the climate deniers to preserve "truth, justice, and the American way". Amazing but true - some of the most patriotic Americans (e.g. supporters of the Republican party) seem to have forgotten about the importance of truth and justice.

It is impossible to overestimate the power and significance of climate denial. If climate change is the biggest risk ever taken by the human species, as mainstream science suggests, then climate denial could well turn out to be the greatest evil ever perpetuated by human beings. If the scientific revolution and enlightenment marked the beginnings of human wisdom, climate denial, if it persists long enough, will mark the end of it. more

The arguments on this page are based on current mainstream foundations of climate science as published by the IPCC, in good peer-reviewed journals, and on the internet pages of reputable scientific organisations. I have also drawn arguments from critiques of climate denial by climate scientists (e.g. Washington & Cook, 2011). When searching the internet, I managed to spot and avoid the phony climate science pages of the deniers; if I have made a mistake, please let me know and I will correct it. I also consulted Wikipedia pages; they are usually ok, but you have to remember that Wikpedia is constantly being attacked behind the scenes by climate deniers.

Human rights

Climate deniers have the right to freedom of speech, but in exercising that right, they are violating the human rights of a billion people living in poverty, both now and in the future. There are several relevant articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The most important is
Article 3 on the right to life. This right is being violated by climate deniers because their public statements, when they are heeded by politicians, are predicted by mainsteam climate science to cause millions of deaths by increasing global death rates due to hunger, preventable disease and curable disease. The guilt of climate deniers depends on whether (i) this chain of causality can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt and (ii) they are aware that their activities are risking human lives.

Further relevant articles are Article 1 "spirit of brotherhood", Article 7 "equal protection before the law", Article 17 "no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property" (e.g. by rising seas), and Article 25 "right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care".
The problem of conflicting rights is addressed in Article 29: "In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society." Article 29 makes it possible to limit the freedom of speech of climate deniers to protect the rights of the bottom billion, and a legal framework already exists in laws against Holocaust denial.

In saying this I am not comparing global warming to the Holocaust, which is indisputably the worst crime ever committed; nor am I comparing climate denial to Holocaust denial. Instead, I am pointing to possible similarities in legislative detail that could be used to protect the rights of the bottom billion. Countries that ban Holocaust denial generally have legal systems in place that limit freedom of speech in other ways. Why not climate denial?

There can be no question that new laws are necessary, given that it is more serious to harm someone than to offend someone, and the most serious form of harm is death. Moreover, we are talking about the rights not of individuals, but of millions of people. But as far as I know nothing is happening. Our legal institutions are not addressing the problem.

Why is so little being done?

On the surface it seems that a lot is being done. There is constant discussion in the media. Every year there is a high-profile global meeting. Most countries have been trying for many years to meet the targets set in the Kyoto protokoll. But in truth this is mostly hot air (to use a rather worn-out pun). What matters most in the end is the global rate of CO2 emission, and that has been rising every year, year after year. That is not only because emissions are rising so fast in BRIC and developing countries. It is not entirely their fault, because even within many industrialized countries, emissions are still rising. Things look more promising in Europe, where emissions are gradually falling - mainly as a result of the Kyoto agreement, and helped along by the financial crisis since 2008. But even if global emissions fell globally at the current European rate, global temperature would continue to rise throughout the 21st century.

We know what the consequences will be, but we are effectively ignoring them. Why is so much being said, and so little being done?

The first problem is political. There is clear evidence that climate denial is slowing progress toward real solutions. For example, when George W. Bush failed to sign Kyoto in 2001, he was responding to pressure from ExxonMobil. Presumably, climate denial in the background has slowed progress at every one of the annual meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 1997. This raises concerns about democracy, which is being eroded by t
he rising wealth gap. We like to talk about "one person one vote", but often it seems like "one dollar one vote".

The second problem is financial. Stopping global warming will cost a lot of money. Very roughly, it will cost a few trillion dollars to save a few hundreds of millions of human lives - not to mention countless irreplaceable biological species and a world worth living in. Yet the bill could easily be paid. The total value of all companies on all stock exchanges is 60 trillion dollars, and there may be 30 trillion in illegal offshore bank accounts (more).

People may be afraid to admit it, but the third problem involves racism. Global warming is primarily caused by whites, and will primarily affect non-whites. If mainly whites were threatened, much more would have been done. Global warming may turn out to be the climax of a long, crazy, bloody history of racism. The relevant article in UDHR is Article 2: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, (sic.) colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

That brings us to the fourth problem, which is legal. Calls to make climate denial illegal, or more precisely to make it illegal to try to influence public opinion by denying the findings of climate science, have not been heeded. Among the top (white) billion, it is socially acceptable to ignore the rights of a billion (non-white) people living in poverty in developing countries, as discussions in the internet suggest. That could be an example of passive racism or laissez-faire racism.

The fifth problem is psychological. We tend to underestimate the probability of something happening if it never happened before (discovering black swans), is considered impossible (sinking the Titanic), or contradicts our prejudice or political self-interest (denying the Holocaust). We avoid thinking about enormous future threats that we cannot process emotionally or cognitively (psychic numbing).

Passive climate denial: Lying by doing

Seen this way, most people can be described as passive climate deniers. We are not actively denying climate change. We are merely behaving as if it did not exist, or as if the climate scientists were lying or incompetent. In fact, the climate scientists are doing a perfectly good job. Like any other scientists, they are doing their best to solve some difficult problems, subjecting their findings to stringent quality control procedures, and communicating them honestly to the public. We are merely ignoring them.

If we are honest with ourselves, and take our personal responsibility for other people seriously, it is surely we - the general public - who are the main problem. From the point of view of our children and grandchildren, the adults are the problem. From the point of view of people in developing countries, the rich countries are the problem. In the end, it seems we
are just complacent and lazy. We the adults know that we will die before things get too serious. We won't be here when our children and grandchildren are dealing with the mess. We in the rich countries guess that any significant problems in our lifetime will happen in the poor countries. In both cases, we manage to avoid doing anything by pretending that we do not  know what it happening - which of course is fantastically irresponsible. We console ourselves by imagining that perhaps nobody really knows - which of course is nonsense.

Actions, it is said, speak louder than words. By our failure to act to stop climate change, or by continuing to act as if there was no climate change (by unnecessarily driving cars, flying in aeroplanes, eating too much meat, voting for political parties that don't care, and so on), we are
passively distorting the truth. The active climate deniers are distorting the truth actively; we are supporting them passively. We are not lying in the usual way, by talking or writing; we are lying by doing.

Moreover, by ignoring the warnings of climate scientists, we are acting as if we were competent to pass judgment on a such a complex topic. But only genuine climate scientists are in that position. The same applies to any academic discipline. It follows that we have a moral obligation to listen to the advice of experts - especially when they advise us on matters of life and death. If you disagree with that statement, then we might as well close the universities.

The bottom line

The implications are clear. We are talking about the greatest risk ever taken by so-called homo sapiens.

That seems obvious, but evidently it is not, because the most respected moral instances in human societies, such as world religions, human rights organisations, and the academic discipline of practical philosophy, do not recognize these two points as the main problems. They discuss all kinds of serious problems, and do all kinds of good things, but there is a remarkable tendency to avoid or sideline the most important. Until that changes, the human species will not have control over its own destiny. Humans can hardly call themselves "moral animals" (as in the title of the 1994 book by Robert Wright) until this problem is solved. A billion lives are on the line.

The good news is that we can stop this ultimate recklessness, if we want to. We can speak and write, organise projects, lobby politicians, and support enlightened organisations and parties. Try these links:, tcktcktck, Concerned Scientists.

Emissions must be urgently reduced - and not just 10% here and 20% there in the next decade or two. We need big cuts of 50% and up in the next few years. That may seem unrealistic from a short-term economic viewpoint; but for the long term, current responses to global warming are surely too little, too late. They are a recipe for economic and humanitarian disaster.The

Perhaps you can do something that no-one ever thought of before? Think about it. For example has anyone created a database of newspapers and magazines that have published climate denial without a subsequent apology? How about a campaign to cancel subscriptions to such media? That is one idea of many.

If you love your children, global warming is your problem. Love is more than a feeling - it involves care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge (more). You can't just ignore global warming or hope it will somehow go away. Don't bother taking out insurance - there is no Planet B.

If you disagree with anything I have written on this page, I would welcome suggestions on how to improve the text. If you like we can also have a long, erudite, academic discussion about the finer details - a bit like two businessmen on the Titanic planning a new venture. I prefer to act.

The opinions expressed on this page are the authors' personal opinions.
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