Part of the problem or solution?

Parkersburg News & Sentinel Sunday, December 1, 2019 Letter-to-the-Editor by Eric Engle, Parkersburg

A new report out Tuesday, Nov. 26, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that global greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 7.6 percent every year from now until 2030 in order to stay within the 1.5 degree centigrade (1.5C) ceiling that scientists say is necessary to avoid climate disaster. A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report out Monday, Nov. 25, showed that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are 50 percent higher than in 1750, prior to the industrial revolution, and other potent greenhouse gases are in higher concentrations as well — methane levels are double what they were in 1750 and nitrous oxide levels are 23 percent higher than in 1750. Globally, on average, CO2 emissions have increased by 1.5 percent annually for the last decade and concentrations in the atmosphere are up to the highest levels seen in approximately 3 million years.

Time is up. The sand is in the bottom of the hourglass. International, federal, state and local public policy and the investment vs. divestment strategies of the world’s wealth and asset owners and managers must direct systemic change. This change must be an extremely rapid yet just transition to renewable energy for power generation, industry and transportation, maximizing across-the-board energy efficiencies, sustainable agriculture and development, and massive reforestation and protections of existing carbon sinks like rainforests, woodlands, and wetlands. Plant and animal species conservation and protection of Indigenous rights are crucial. Mitigation strategies, such as massive infrastructural investments and well-funded and planned disaster preparedness strategies, are also crucial, but we’ve got to stop the hemorrhaging of the greenhouse gases and restore some balance even as we treat the wounds and prepare for other wounds.

We’re all, to some degree or another, a part of the problem; ask yourself if you also want to be part of the solution. If so, join us at Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action today! You can find us on Facebook or at

Eric Engle