A trillion tons of carbon hangs in the air, put there by the world’s rich, an existential threat to its poor. Can we remove it?
David Wallace-Wells Intelligencer, Nov 1, 2021
This is a long read but offers more than a small does of reality in the social justice and practical solutions arena. This is what our nay-saying politicians need to understand – but will they ever read or comprehend it?
What Is Owed
The math is as simple as the moral claim. We know how much carbon has been emitted and by which countries, which means we know who is most responsible and who will suffer most and that they are not the same. We know that the burden imposed on the world’s poorest by its richest is gruesome, that it is growing, and that it represents a climate apartheid demanding reparation — or should know it. We know we can remove some of that carbon from the atmosphere and undo at least some of the damage. We know the cost of doing so using tools we have today. And we know that unless we use them, the problem will never go away.
Carbon dioxide is a gas, but it doesn’t dissipate immediately like viral aerosols in the wind. It accumulates, thickening the atmosphere for centuries, which means that all the carbon that has been added to the skies since the advent of industrialization is still heating the planet today, and will be for ages to come, turning the Earth we have known into one we don’t.