Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
It isn’t your imagination. You’ve been hearing that the world is “running out of time” for years.
“We are running out of time. We know that if we continue to rely on fossil fuels we will face a future of worsening air pollution and an increasingly inhospitable climate.”
So declared Jim Leape, the man in charge of the head office of the World Wildlife Fund, a few days ago.
There’s nothing new about the idea that we’re experiencing a crisis to which we must urgently respond. We’ve heard this line before. Pretty much non-stop, actually.
A decade later, in 2004, the UK’s Independent newspaper quoted a “a former government adviser on green issues.” His message: “we are running out of time to stabilise the climate.”
In 2007, we heard that rather a lot. Here’s a taste:
In 2008 James Hansen portentously warned: “we’re running out of time.” Five years later, during an interview in April of this year, he used the exact same words. For good measure, Australian professor Barry Brook also declared back in 2008 that, where climate change was concerned, “we are perilously close to running out of time.”
Was 2009 any different? I’m afraid not:
And so this shabby, tired refrain continues. A month ago, Ian Bruce, a climate change specialist employed by the David Suzuki Foundation, insisted that “We’re running out of time and we need to change the mass way of thinking.”
In case we failed to get the message, Suzuki himself chimed in: “We are in the 59th minute.”
Yeah, yeah. Tell me something I haven’t heard already.