By Grant Jacobs 11/11/2021

“We have a kind of handwriting on the wall” Carl Sagan says from 36 years ago. His message from the past that rings so close to our talks today.

Sagan gives a nice explanation of the Greenhouse Effect, even if I worry it goes over the head of most US senators. I swear that’s a younger Al Gore taking it all in.

It’s prescient stuff when you listen to what he says then, and what we say today.

“He we are pouring carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere with hardly any concern for its long term and global effects.”

Listen to it for yourself. Fifteen minutes of your time is worth it. Sagan is a legend in science communication and, like so much of his work, so much of it is quotable, but you’re better to get it from him than me –

“Here is a problem which transcends our particular generation. It is an intergenerational problem. If we don’t do the right thing now, our children & grandchildren will face serious problems.”

It feels like a generation or two has past, and we’re still talking about.

36 years on

Of course, keep in mind this is from 36 years ago.

Today we can’t really afford to think, “the idea that we should immediately stop burning fossil fuel has such severe economical consequences that of course no-one will take it seriously”. Today we do have to take it seriously.

That’s a consequence of putting things off for so long. As he said near the beginning if you don’t act early, “it’s too late later on” for the softer, more gradual measures he outlines.

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