We have failed our kids and grandkids, and American papers don't care

I’m not sure whether I’m angrier at news that humanity is frying our planet faster than ever before (despite understanding better than ever how we’re harming our kids and grandkids) or that not a single U.S. newspaper has bothered to report this new data.

This should be the headline story of the day, but American papers don’t seem to care. The UK’s Guardian reports:

Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.

The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius – which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change” – is likely to be just “a nice Utopia”, according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.

Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuel – a rise of 1.6Gt on 2009….

Professor Lord Stern of the London School of Economics, the author of the influential Stern Report into the economics of climate change for the Treasury in 2006, warned that if the pattern continued, the results would be dire. “…According to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s] projections, such a path … would mean around a 50% chance of a rise in global average temperature of more than 4C by 2100,” he said.

“Such warming would disrupt the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the planet, leading to widespread mass migration and conflict. That is a risk any sane person would seek to drastically reduce.”

…John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, said time was running out. “This news should shock the world. Yet even now politicians in each of the great powers are eyeing up extraordinary and risky ways to extract the world’s last remaining reserves of fossil fuels – even from under the melting ice of the Arctic. You don’t put out a fire with gasoline.”

The only other English language newspapers where Google News found this story are: * Australia’s The Age * Australia’s ABC News * Canada’s Gazette * England’s BBC * England’s Daily Mail * England’s Telegraph * France’s AFP * India’s Pioneer * Italy’s AGI * Russia’s RIA Novosti * Thailand’s Bangkok Post

New data on how rapidly we’re destroying the Earth’s future doesn’t register even a blip in U.S. newspapers!?!?! Are we just that ignorant and self-absorbed, or do we not want to upset oil and coal companies who run profitable green-washing ads in our papers and on television?

Posted by James on Monday, May 30, 2011