Accolades for the December 2015 climate summit in Paris are deserved, in that they recognize that there is movement by the global community to work together to avert climate disaster. But in another way, the articles and speeches about the success of this summit hide the fact that pledges made by participating countries aren’t enough to keep us below the threshold of 2◦ C, much less the 1.5◦C that scientists are now saying we need to stay below.
With this in mind, we thought it was important to do another “reality check”. Where are we, as a civilization, on this path to climate chaos – or even a mass extinction, as many scientists claim? And what do we need to do to avert tipping points that would send beyond the point of return?
“Last Hours”is an 11-minute film that describes a science-based climate scenario where a tipping point to runaway climate change is triggered by massive releases of frozen methane.
Methane, is a powerful greenhouse gas – more than 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period. Scientists have documented methane percolating into the open seas and atmosphere from methane hydrate deposits beneath melting arctic ice; from the warming northern-hemisphere tundra; and from worldwide continental-shelf undersea methane pools.
“Last Hours” is a captivating, extremely compelling appeal meant to awaken politicians and business leaders to take climate action and stop runway catastrophic climate change. Few films have managed to capture the sense of urgency as well as ‘Last Hours’. In the context of science telling us that emissions need to peak by 2015 and then come down, and with politicians doing little to reflect this urgency, this is a a much needed asset for the climate movement.”
– Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International
A Sixth Mass Extinction?
The film highlights the five major extinctions experienced by earth in the deep geologic past – times when more than half of all life on earth vanished as a result of global warming. Four of the five extinctions were a result of what has happening below the earth’s surface. “Last Hours”, both succinctly and alarmingly, shows that industrial civilization, with its production of greenhouse gases, has the potential to trigger a mass extinction on the order of those seen in the deep geological past. In the extreme, it could threaten not just human civilization, but the very existence of human life on this planet.
There Are Achievable Solutions!
Watch the film, then explore the actions and recommended pathway forward on GreenWorldRising.org. This includes a list of key strategies targeted at reducing climate pollution at scale before 2020, closing the gap between what is needed to secure a safe future and the inadequate targets currently proposed by governments at the recent climate summit in Paris.
While the 2015 climate summit in Paris was a good start at mobilizing countries to act, we know that much work “on the ground” remains to be carried out. It’s up to us. We need to scale up solutions we know work (conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, soil revitalization, reduced consumption, and more). And we’re the ones to do it – with our votes, with advocacy, and with our wallets.
Let’s not wait for another tipping point to occur that ensures extinction of life on earth as we know it. Let’s come together now – and bring about the bold, positive changes we need to ensure a secure, habitable world for today and the foreseeable future.
“Last Hours” is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, presented by Thom Hartmann and directed by Leila Conners. See more at GreenWorldRising.org.