California could one day be uninhabitable. Fire. Heat. Floods. Infestation. Disease. Suffering.
Scientists have for years warned about the ravaging consequences of a warming planet. Decamping for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change, California academics and political leaders were mulling how to better deploy the distressing projections to give unwary citizens a better understanding of what’s at stake and compel them to see the wisdom of embracing sustainability.
“This is bad stuff. It doesn’t get any worse,” Gov. Jerry Brown lamented to scientists, religious and political leaders in Europe ahead of the conference. “The threat is profound. It will alter human civilization. It’s not decades away. It’s closer than you think,” the Democratic governor added later.
Rising temperatures reaching a tipping point would cause massive destruction, exacerbating inequality, poverty and migration patterns. The warnings are embedded in the speeches and calls to action by Americans at the conference in Germany. Brown, who has made climate change the central mission of his current stint as governor after serving before from 1975 to 1983, told European leaders that the recent fires in California, stoked by high winds and low humidity, were the latest sign of a planet in the throes of immense changes.
The state used to have a fire season of a few summer months, he said. “Now, we are fighting fires virtually the entire year.”
“The science is getting clearer and the extreme weather events are getting more frequent. All of that leads to more understanding, more clarity and then more action,” Brown said on a panel in Bonn. “The only question is will human beings be able to react in time, or will we have to get such an extreme event that we get wiped out?”