When I wrote this sentence at the conclusion of a dialogue-tweet with a farmer in lower Manitoba, I did understand what I was writing. Here was a man I believed was a middle-class farmer who loved his family and agriculture in equal measure. He was, he thought, an environmentalist as well. He has a son taking up his trade.
He posed a question to me. What machinery-based form of agriculture can take the place of fossil fuel now, if we ban fossil fuel? Won’t people die, if we ban fossil fuel?
The suffering he is trying to offset is a true suffering. It is going on now. It has gone on. It will continue. In Eastern Iceland which I had never visited until last year, the ground is already cold. No geothermal energy; no hot spring. Cold. Iceland has successfully sold much of its energy to ALCOA and aluminum manufactures to reap unbelievable wealth. We tried to document this in our blog on “Displacement”.
The belief that if we go forward as we are, everything will be fine is a happy belief. Scientists will come up with an ever more green, profitable future where all it will take are just taxes, good government, and hard work. But as happy as that dream is, it is blindsiding itself to the suffering now and in the past.
“When we are ready.” – goes this dream – “we will ban fossil fuels for good, but only when we are ready and it is profitable to do so.”
Such a dream is an elusion. If we do not STOP EMISSION OF CARBON NOW, we will loose the whole thing. All of it will be irreplacable in 12 years. Read the IPCC. Read the WMO report. Read the US Arctic Report Card. Read the US Report on The Climate.
Last year, the USA shutdown more coal-fired plants in any year previous, but its emission of carbon dioxide INCREASED a staggering 3.4% over the year previous. Read the reasons why..
A top reason is people were forced to use electricity generated by natural gas, a more efficient emitter of carbon dioxide! So while coal burning plummeted, along with it air pollution in its most viral form, it did not stop carbon emissions. In fact, it increased them.
With the USA’s 3.4% increase, Germany’s Coal Commission has allow the burning of coal until 2038, a drastic mistake. And China is still emitting 10 GIGATONNES/year of carbon dioxide. Even though we are made aware of this carbon emission, we increase it year-by-year, waiting. Waiting for what?
If this continues, unabated for 12-15 years, our culture will end involuntarily. Agriculture is part of our human culture. It will end, as well.