Before we can answer, we must first ask if there is anything actually wrong with the current conversation? Are our current actions enough? The simple answer to that is no. We are not on track to meet the Paris Climate Accord agreements by any metric. In 2018, humankind emitted a record 37,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide. A plateau, and thus suspected peak in emissions in recent years, was foiled by an increase in emissions in 2017, and then made obsolete by an acceleration of emissions in 2018. In addition to still accelerating carbon emissions, other greenhouse gasses such as methane are still on the rise as-well. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it.
For decades, the message of environmentalists, climatologists, and worried citizens has been based around fear-mongering, blaming other generations, blaming other nations, and using extreme weather as proof. That tactic has gotten us nowhere. This strategy has simply not inspired nearly enough people, leaders or nations to act on climate change. We know this does not work because yearly carbon emissions are still rising! This conversation has to change, but to what? What should we talk about when we talk about climate change?
When we talk about climate change, we need to talk about us. Whether or not you like it, this is a global issue caused by everyone and hurting everyone. The only way to make progress is through unity. We need to research and discuss why most people are not inclined to act on climate change. We need to talk more about how this issue even got started in the first place, and what aspect of our genetics this issue may be a result of. We need to converse with every citizen on this planet as to how we as a species could combat a similar, global issue in the future. We need to stop praising children and believing that they will one day grow up and solve climate change. Instead, we must understand that all of us are the children we should believe will one day grow up and solve this issue. We need to remind people just how isolated and alone we are in this great enveloping cosmos. We need to understand our vulnerability to both space and to time. We need to tell those who do not act on climate change that this issue is unlike any other; that it is the universe testing us to determine if we are in-fact capable of exploring her vastness and her wonder. We need to understand Where We Stand on climate change and we need to understand Where We Stand on us.
The growth of annual carbon emissions by country.