As the Christmas lights grow more opulent and ubiquitous commercials hawk gas-guzzling autos as gifts, alarming climate change reports mount.
Despite an impassioned plea by Greta Thunberg, Time magazine's Person of the Year and Donald Trump irritant, the UN's COP 25 conference in Madrid collapsed, torpedoed by the United States, Brazil and Australia. The conference's purpose was to reaffirm carbon-reduction goals set by each country in the 2016 Paris agreement.
New York magazine writer and "Uninhabitable Earth" author David Wallace-Wells in a report on the failed UN conference outlines the folly of Australia denying climate change as wildfires burn, droughts grow worse and coral reefs die.
Trump has pulled the United States from the treaty, making the U.S. the only country refusing to make a commitment to cut carbon emissions. But no country has taken significant action to meet its carbon reduction goals.
Carbon output rose to an all-time high in 2019, breaking the record set in 2018, according to reports.
In a ray of good news, the global increase in fossil fuel emissions fell to 0.2 percent, after a 2 percent rise in 2018, Scientific American said. The reduction came from a 10 percent reduction in U.S. coal use, despite the Trump administration's campaign to revive the coal industry. Much of Europe also had a similar reduction in coal burning, the magazine reported.
But India and China boosted its coal dependency. A rise in natural gas usage also played a part in the emissions increase, although the fuel emits less carbon than coal.
Another message in this season of bad tidings: The ocean off the coast of California is turning acidic much faster than other ocean areas. That's a death knell for the spiny lobster, the market squid, the Dungeness crab, The New York Times reported. Hear the sea lions honking?
As the oceans absorb more carbon dioxide, they are turning more acidic, with the process going faster off the coast of California. And one more ominous report found that the oceans' oxygen levels are declining, raising the threat to sealife, not to mention our own.
Tidings of comfort and joy? Arctic melting accelerates. Greenland's ice disappears, raising sea levels. Soon the carol will be "'I'm dreaming of a white Greenland, just like the one I used to know."
We keep ignoring those urgent wake-up calls.
Still, we must hope, as the Christmas carols say.