Image: Smoky orange sky over the Golden Gate Bridge as wildfires rage on in California.

Greenland’s frozen hinterlands are bleeding worse than we thought.
— ScienceNews, November 9, 2022

Gas flares are leaking five times as much methane as previously thought.
— ScienceNews, September 29, 2022

Worse than we thought.

What were we thinking?

We thought we had more time.
We thought technology would save us.
We thought governments would come to their senses
before it was too late.
We thought it was just the weather.
We thought global warming would be good
for a cold country like Canada.
We thought we should build the pipeline
because it’s safer than shipping oil by rail.
We thought everybody would be driving electric cars by now.

Worse than we thought.

We thought there were more immediate and pressing issues.
We thought a carbon tax was political kryptonite.
We thought natural gas was clean energy.
We thought ethanol was a good idea.
We thought Canada should supply the oil because if we didn’t,
Saudi Arabia would.
We thought setting emission targets was a meaningful act.
We thought. We thought. We thought.

Worse than we thought.

We didn’t think it would happen in our lifetime.
We didn’t think there was a scientific consensus
that climate change was real.
We didn’t think anything we did could make a difference.
We didn’t think politicians were in the pay of the fossil fuel industry.
We didn’t think our way of life had to change.
We didn’t think hurricanes, floods and wildfires
had anything to do with greenhouse gases.
We didn’t think the temperature could reach
forty-nine degrees Celsius in Canada.
We didn’t think.

It was worse than we thought.

Worse than we thought.

Worse.