Home Adaptation Climate Change Adaptation: Too Little, Too Late?

Climate Change Adaptation: Too Little, Too Late?


In what seems a lifetime ago--last December--I celebrated the outcome of the Paris Climate Summit talks with the headline:

However, in the intervening time, as they say, life happened.

  • January 2016 became the hottest month on earth in recorded history.
  • Immediately following, February 2016 became the hottest month on earth in recorded history.
  • March 2016? To be determined in a few days. But don't expect any sort of relief. That's just not going to happen.

There is a faction within our political world that looked at the data and concluded that a trend line could be drawn that shows there has been no global warming in the past eight years. Despite having been thoroughly debunked, this perspective still has legs with this political perspective, and has served to enable those who wish to do nothing in the face of the greatest threat to our civilization that has ever existed. In one sense, shame on us for listening.

In the other sense, life happened. See above.

Now comes the inevitable realization, or at least perspective for consideration, that we may be in a position where we may have consigned ourselves to only be able to accomplish too little too late. In this article from Climate Code Red, they make a convincing argument that what happened in Paris, despite being an honorable effort of humankind to work together against a common threat, nonetheless was put off for so long that the 'do nothing' perspective had already won the day--and has potentially destroyed our civilization.

In the here and now, I'm not going to try to make any case as to whether or not what they say is true. Rather, what I'm telling you and all emergency managers everywhere, is this:

  • Learn the facts!
  • Learn the truth!
  • If your favorite news outlet exists solely to disparage the facts and the truth, STOP WATCHING THEM!
  • Take seriously the FACT and the TRUTH that climate change is an existential threat to our civilization.
  • Once you've learned everything you can about the issues, DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM!

And then maybe we can survive Code Red. Maybe.

Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.