The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is clear: To stop global warming, we must stop greenhouse gas emissions. The longer we wait, the hotter the earth will become. We must act now to keep the bad from becoming catastrophically worse.
The report describes how burning fossil fuels has already led to a 1.1ºC increase in global temperatures, resulting in blistering heat waves, floods, severe droughts, hurricanes, and wildfires. Even if we reduce emissions to zero immediately, we will still see global warming that exceeds 1.5ºC within two decades.
The IPCC report reiterates a painfully old message. It could be shortened to, “It’s what we’ve been saying for years, but worse than we predicted, happening even faster than we expected, and we’re more sure than ever that humans have caused it.”
Hope hinges on those last points: Humans have caused it and can still do something about it. Like the pandemic, this climate crisis requires us to do more than we ever have, and the sooner the better. We don’t want to be the patient finally convinced that their disease is not a hoax, too late to benefit from the medicine the doctor has prescribed. We need to take our medicine now. We need to change our diet now. We need to act now.
The IPCC report is an urgent call for action. The window for averting global catastrophe is narrow and closing. And powerful forces are determined to defend fossil fuels and impede needed change. We all need to get involved and speak out now!
350 Madison member Carol Phelps puts it this way:
“It can be said that one can tell what someone values by looking at their calendar and their checkbook (or the modern-day equivalent). If we truly believe that climate action is of vital importance, because climate change is a grave threat to all life on Earth, our calendars and checkbooks should reflect that, by being filled with climate action.”
350 Madison is focused on rapidly achieving the major system changes needed to transition away from fossil fuels. Here are a just few examples of how we are doing this:
- We have been granted intervenor status on the Public Service Commission’s “Roadmap to Zero Carbon” docket, a major study of how Wisconsin can best achieve carbon neutrality. As an intervenor, we have the opportunity to help shape Wisconsin’s carbon future by advocating for bold, equitable policies.
- We are strategically targeting the nexus between pipeline development and the financial sector, helping lead resistance efforts against Enbridge Lines 3 and 5 while simultaneously pushing Chase Bank and other financial institutions to stop funding Enbridge and other fossil fuel companies.
- We are advocating for state level policies — such as building code reform and community solar — that will give local communities the tools they need to significantly reduce their emissions and rapidly transition to renewable energy.