Thursday, November 29, 2018

Short term financial interests vs long term sustainability

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

Temperature is up.

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.4 Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

Ice sheets are shrinking.

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 281 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016, while Antarctica lost about 119 billion tons during the same time period. The rate of Antarctica ice mass loss has tripled in the last decade.

Extreme events are getting more common.

The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.


All said and done, many companies and governments are still carrying on business as normal. Forests are getting chopped down. Vegetation are removed for monoculture crops like Palm Oil, waste are getting vented into the atmosphere or dumped in rivers.

Many of these practices are going on because of short term profits.

Any company that does not need to spend more on disposal will do so, and in the US, the EPA is cutting down regulations to allow more short term profits for companies.

For the convenience of "users" single use plastics are still used and they end up burnt or in landfills. In Singapore, plastic straws, single use plastic bags are still common, and recycling is talked about and not really practiced properly.

Even in 2018, where solar and wind power is getting cheaper, banks are still funding the construction of coal powered plants.

Most people are concerned about convenience than the environment.

If businesses and governments don't act, and the majority of the people are unaware or apathetic to the environment, it is hard to advocate change when the conditions are stacked against you.

-- Robin Low

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