...We're just the meat in the sandwich. We really are. We can't even claim to be the first generation to be aware of the issue. This was known a century ago. And we can't claim to be the generation to fix it because we don't have the technology to do so.
It’s true that climate science first began ringing the alarm bells more than 50 years ago (1956 when Keeling measures the rise in CO2
). But as with all good science, they began softly and cautiously at first. By the late 80s however, there was a clear picture of what was going on. And there was a growing agreement ACROSS ALL SOCIETAL LINES that action needed to be taken.
It was at this point that the issue got intertwined with political identity, first in the USA, which then spreading around the developed world. Of course, it was not by accident that this happened. It was purposely fed by the masters of misdirection and misinformation, funded and supported by the industries at risk.
It was only then that political controversy became the driving force, or rather the stalling force. Until then all political sides were substantively in agreement as to the nature of the issue, and what needed to be done. But once the money started flowing from the fossil fuel industry, it suddenly became a controversy.
So if you’re looking for a generation or a group to blame, this is a good point in history to use.
But I don’t think blame is very productive or useful. Regardless of the past, we all face the reality of anthropogenic climate change NOW. We can’t change the past, all we can do is affect the future.
The only sure fire fix is to turn of the lights, reset average life expectancy to 30 and return to caves. Unless "we" want to do that (I certainly don't) adapting is the only way to move forward until the appropriate technologies are (if ever) developed.
And here’s where the rubber really meets the road. We do
have the ability to achieve RCP2.6, but it would require significant
reduction in the resource use of those of us who use the most. I don’t think there is any scenario which would require us to reduce our "life expectancy to 30 and return to caves” — that is unhelpful hyperbole. But it is true that you and I, and likely everyone reading this, would need to reduce our lifestyle quite significantly.
I appreciate your honesty: you don’t want to do this. I actually think this is a perfectly legitimate response. I don’t agree with it, but I think it is one response that our societies can make. I just wish everyone were as honest as you.
ADD: I just came across this clip from the recent DAVOS meetings. I don’t agree with all aspects of this presentation, but it speaks to the honesty in which I would like ALL sides to use.