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Nevertheless, big oil corporations still receive annual taxpayer subsidies of hundreds of billions of dollars. , at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Coal, oil, and gas rapidly brought about the Anthropocene epoch, and could end it just as quickly. O ur massive, increasing global carbon dioxide emissions are already over 20 percent above those of the year 2000. Fossil fuels are pushing the biosphere into climate breakdown. At the same time, they are running out. But they are also generating the largest profits in commercial history.
4 Regional climates on the Earth vary greatly from the equator to the poles, because the parallel rays of the Sun fall unevenly across the curve of the planet’s surface. “Global average climate” is the average of all those climatic regions. It has shown litde vari ation during the last 10,000 years— the Holocene geological epoch that gave rise to human civilization. Before the Holocene, over a hundred thousand years of extreme climate variation allowed only for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. A stable climate permitted the development of agriculture—and with it, city life, culture, and civilization.
We must recognize we have brought about a climate emergency in order to generate the understanding and higher purpose we need now. O n this basis we can create a viable future— sustainable, lasting, peaceful co-existence. 22 ♦ A. Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency Ignorance of interdependence has harmed not only the natu ral environment, but human society as well. We have misplaced much of our energy in self-centered material consumption, neglecting to foster the most basic human needs of love, kindness, and cooperation.