Climate change and personal responsibility

As to the topic of climate change; those of you who live in the northern hemisphere, have you noticed that it’s warmer lately? Here in Los Angeles we’re into the third day of a heat wave, or as the weather guessers put it, a Heat Advisory. It’s the second time this year. Normally such things don’t happen around here until September or October. But forget about the old normal; it’s the new normal we have to worry about. Heat and floods constitute the new normal. Climate change. And it’s all your fault so don’t complain. Can’t say I didn’t warn you here and here and here for example.

Well, it’s not everybody’s fault. It’s mostly the fault, so far, of the rich countries, the so-called developed world. And the countries that are trying to become rich. It’s all due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions preventing the heat we generate  by burning fossil fuels from escaping and warming outer space instead of the earth. Plus, if the climate gets warm enough, gases like methane start escaping from melting permafrost in polar regions. But the largest producer of GHGs is still transportation, cars in particular.

For example , in California in 2016, cars emitted some 119 million metric tons of CO2 into the air. That’s about 28 percent of all CO2 emissions in the state. And California appears to be well ahead of the United States in general when it comes to reducing the emission of GHGs. So Californians collectively appear to be better than the rest of us in damping climate change. Californians annually emit 10.8 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per capita as compared with 20.3 metric tons for the average American, according to the California Air Resources Board. Of that 10.8 metric tons, 3 metric tons per capita is from cars.

So if, as the title of this blog suggests, we should all think about our personal responsibility for climate change, at least the Californians appear to have a head start in the reduction game. Think telecommuting, solar energy, electric cars, multi-destination trips. If we all start thinking that way we might just make a dent in the rate of climate change. If we don’t the rate of change will remain the same or, more likely, accelerate as the rest of the world strives to catch up with us.

Therefore, if you find yourself in the midst of another heat wave or horrible weather or flooding, don’t blame them. Blame yourself, set an example and change your ways,

To gain a little more perspective on actual reality please read Factfulness by Hans Rosling. [Note: I have no financial interest in Dr. Rosling’s writings.]

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