Anthropologists on climate change

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California recently held a symposium “Exploring a World of Our Own Making”.  This Yale Climate Connections link is to an article summarising key presentations. Below is an extract from a presentation by Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan:

“We have two separate but co-dependent worlds. One-billion people live with seemingly unlimited fossil fuels, and they are responsible for 50-70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions, he said. The most needy three billion, meanwhile, lack access to fossil fuels even for cooking.

In talks at the Vatican, Ramanathan said, those who had attended concluded that the way forward requires fundamentally changing our attitude toward each other and toward nature.

“By leaving three billion behind, [those 3 billion people] will suffer the consequences of our fossil fuel consumption… so it’s a moral issue,” he said.

Ramanathan concluded his talk with a prediction that by 2050, global average temperatures will have climbed by 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). Climatic conditions will have will become so oppressive – with extreme storms, droughts, floods and more – that people will change attitudes. “We will decarbonize the (global) economy,” he said.

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