How international gerontocracy prevents climate change tackling[part 2]
In the previous article, we talked about boomers and us. Now let’s find out how boomers caused the climate change crisis and what we can do about it.
I have 99 problems and climate change ain’t one.
The main reason for climate change is the greenhouse effect: some of the atmosphere's gases reflect the heat, which increases its temperature. Scientists started researching this effect already in the 17th century, trying to systemize and describe the information they gathered from the fossils, landmarks, and atmospheric measurements. Even Joseph Fourier put his 5 cents in that!
The first scientific report on the greenhouse effect and possible atmosphere warming was published at the beginning of the 20th century. Like any other ideas, wrong or right, this one became a part of the scientific discussion, which was much slower without the Internet or television. The freshly discovered phenomenon did not appear dangerous: the emissions were low, neither measurements, mathematics, nor computational power necessary for the prediction were available. Like both passengers and the crew of Titanic couldn’t estimate the severity of the damage caused by the iceberg collision minutes after it happened.
T. C. Chamberlin wrote in his book in 1899 (eighteen hundred ninety-nine, 121 years ago, yes):
The general doctrine that the glacial periods may have been due to a change in the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide is not new <…>
An increase, by causing a larger absorption of the sun’s radiant energy, raises the average temperature, while a reduction lowers it <…>
When the temperature is rising after a glacial episode, dissociation is promoted, and the ocean gives forth its carbon dioxide at an increased rate, and thereby assists in accelerating the amelioration of climate.
Like many other scientists back then, Chamberlin expected the climate to change slowly, warm-up, and therefore be more beneficial for agriculture; many did not associate the increasing concentration of CO2 with human activity. Solar flares, sunspots, vulcanos, Earth’s orbit change, but no, not humans.
Fossil fuels were the foundation stone of the technological progress in the industrial revolution and after. The astonishing engineering achievements left no room for doubt, promising to reach further remote lands and discover more sacred laws of nature and tame her through that knowledge. Some have even bravely stated:
There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement. (Lord Kelvin, the one who invented Kelvins, 1900)
The undeniable evidence that with great power comes great responsibility was yet to be found. Not for Lord Kelvin though, he died in 1907.
In the second half of the 20th century, increasing CO2 concentration was obvious due to more precision in measurement and computers. More scientists confirm the increasing emissions' human origin, appealing to the world to strongly reconsider the growing consumption of fossil fuels.
Look at the contents page of the prominent climate change report issued by the US President Lyndon’s Science Advisory Committee:
The year was: 1965. 55 years to solve the problem.
If you want to know more, check out the wiki article about climate change research history.
The challenge was clearly coming soon, and it was possible to solve the issue decades ago, without revolting, without excess.
Let me say it: boomers knew global warming was happening and human-caused during their entire lifetime. It was just 2030 when it was to be critically dangerous for humanity’s survival — not their problem.
They chose not to care. What about us? We don’t have any choice at all.
Boomers watched global warming happening. Their own actions are the cause of this historical mistake. They had enough time and ways to reduce emissions, but it didn’t happen. They have chosen to care about themselves, and not about their children and grandchildren: it was the challenge of their generation, but they selfishly chickened, so now we are the ones who have to take care of it; so they can have their mortgage. And spoiler: they all gonna be dead in 20 years. Us? This is not yet decided.
The clear thing is: we can’t let the boomers’ generation decide how to address climate change because their actions are the main reason climate change is happening.
In fairness, it should be noted: the definition and the boundaries of the “boomers” and any other generations are quite blurry. It’s hard to pinpoint the criteria or choose a nonambiguous selection logic. In this writing, I address parents' massive failure to their children — the generation is now in their 30s and 40s. We are moving alone to the terrifying future they left for us. They stop us from preventing it because they left no real ways to influence the situation until it’s too late.
I asked myself: How come that such a conservative generation has become a platform for something so oppositive and progressive like hippies? It seems like they didn’t. They just lived at the same time.
Some Boomers admit the catastrophic error they made and exposed their children’s generation to the biggest threat in the civilization’s history. In his iconic speech Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has precisely pointed out the concept. “In some important ways, my generation has failed you,” he says; he summons us to unity in front of the climate change challenge. But also:
Don’t assume that by staying put, the ground won’t move beneath your feet. The status quo simply won’t last. So get to work on building something better.
How are we supposed to break the status quo when the generation guilty of building the biggest trap in history tries to convince us they are a part of the solution, not a part of the problem?
What can we do?
The only way is to cancel them. To gradually push them away and take away their decision power. It’s not an easy task. I even doubt it’s possible. But it’s worth trying! And it’s not that nobody tried.
The traditional left idea is living in a deep crisis. Right-wing populist parties attract young minds, who miss the clear alternative and the will to change the reality, all around the world: Trump, AfD, Front National, UKIP, and so on. The established left parties are bound by the interest conflict with the power groups. Their management is old and living in ignorance and denial of the simple fact that the only way to save humanity from the upcoming catastrophe is global effort and technology.
We have to admit: there is no time for slow and gradual change anymore, while we spend the precious seconds discussing how we can satisfy the endless ambitions of corporations and their untamable hunger for even more power and money. Life on the planet is dying. The sea level rises, nearing the most horrible catastrophe in the history of civilization. The necessary data and science proving that was there 50 years long weren’t enough for them to set the priorities right. Another 50 years won’t be enough too.
And it’s not that there was nothing to be done or there was no good ideas. Simple formula: older people don’t like new things. Technology is the only straight way to a democratic and justiciable society, yet it didn’t happen. Why? What happened? Boomers happened. The most ignorant and egoist generation yet.
(hopefully not) Last words
I’ve focussed this hateful write-up on the US boomers mostly. Why? Check out my previous article about climate change facts: America is responsible for the biggest part of the CO2 emissions, meaning everything happening there is happening everywhere. The last four years in the USA were extremely confusing for everyone in the world, including Americans themselves. The time for the scenario “light” has gone. It’s time to unravel the plan B.
And it’s time to preserve our future, and it’s time to act. In 10 years, everybody will know what climate change is like everyone does today, what is a coronavirus. We didn’t listen in the past; let’s not make the same mistake again. Tackling climate change is now the challenge of our generation, and we have to decide what will happen now. Not them who have failed us, but us their children.
The bad news is that we are responsible for them too, whether we like it or not. Their problems are our problems. Regardless of how much I hate to say that: we have to save them too. If we leave them alone, we jeopardize our last chance.
And I ask myself: Is this childhood’s end?