Climate Conference -- Durban, South Africa December, 2011 -- Are They Nuts?
Is Mankind About To Hang Himself?
But 2020 Will Be Too Late!
We will have to wait until 2020 before any action will be taken! A commitment has been made to include major geenhouse gase emitters like China, India and Brazil to cut down on emissions. Also, in the plans, is a Green Fund which if countries make a contribution can help the poorer nations fight global warming.
So does Durban save us from global warming? No. In itself, as green NGOs have rightly pointed out, it does not divert the world from the dangerous path towards a four degree temperature rise on which we are now walking. But it will help strengthen the fight against it.
We are right around the corner from a four temperature rise. A four temperature rise will increase our chances for an abrupt climate change. And what makes this possibility so scary is that once it happens it will be permanent. And it can’t be reversed. The craziest thing about this possibility is that, no one knows what abrupt change would entail or would be like.
In recent years, more words have been written about the dangers we face from a superheated climate than almost any subject, other than terrorism. Melting icecaps in the Arctic, retreating glaciers in China and Tibet, droughts in southern Africa, vanishing islands in the Pacific Ocean, the deaths of twenty thousand people in Europe from an unexpected heat wave – even a short list of the effects of a warming climate quickly becomes overwhelming. And most of us have participated in coffee conversations about weird weather – the forest fires destroying people’s homes, the blizzards relentlessly lasting days on end, the unseasonable droughts, and flash floods where they shouldn’t be occurring. Is just me, or is it something very strange going on here?
Still, the subject of global warming remains beyond our grasp. In part this is because of our narrow perspective. Global warming is not an event that is occurring on a human scale. It is about climate, not the weather, although the two are obviously related.
In the earth’s 4.5-billion-year history, the climate has gyrated wildly, from blast furnace conditions hot enough to melt steel to deep ice ages lasting millions of years covering the total planet. And although a sudden warming of 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit would have a huge impact on civilization as we know it, compared to the tumultuous changes in the past, it barely qualifies as a perturbation. The commonly held view of the earth as a place with a stable, steady, nurturing climate is an entirely human invention, a manifestation of the fact that civilization emerged during a pleasant and stable ten-thousand-year period known as the Holocene, in which we are still living today. But in the context of the earth’s earth history, these temperate years are an exception, not the rule. Human beings simply have not been around long enough to witness Mother Nature on a rampage.
There is also the problem of complexity. It’s one thing to understand that increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are contributing to the gradual warming of the earth. And yet it is hard to understand how the melting of the ice in the Arctic can influence drought patterns in Africa or how higher evaporation rates lead to increased cloud cover, which results in slightly warmer nights and cooler days in certain regions of Central and South America. More difficult yet to understand, is how when one switches on the light switch could cause long-term changes in our weather or even a change in climate in another part of the world. Unfortunately we will not be able to understand how our actions affect our climate until much time has passed. By that time, it will be too late and man, if he can, must adapt to a new, but more frightening, harsh world.
And don’t ever think that because Nature created havoc on our planet millions of years ago, that man isn’t able to do this during stable Holocene period. Scientists say it is most likely that man will “flip the switch” on our climate rather than Mother Nature. Scientists have a fairly good understanding of the cyclical movement of the Earth about its path along the solar system and its wobbling around its axis.
Scientists can only speculate as to what a sudden abrupt climate change may initiate. A sudden reduction of the Gulf Stream, caused by the increase of fresh water from melting of the ice cap into the salt ocean water, could put most of Europe into a deep freeze. The rapidly, warming of the Siberia tundra will release tremendous quantities of methane, a more, potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. With increase heat this could be a lethal fire bomb ready to be released. As one scientist described it “ a fire tsunami”. Weather patterns could become a permanent fixture. Tornadoes happening more times than not but occurring more frequently and violently. Vicious wind storms suddenly appearing out of nowhere and producing steady gale or even hurricane force winds constantly. Droughts that may last hundreds of years. Rains that never stop, going on for months. The trigger that will “flip the switch” may come any time and if we do little to reduce our greenhouse emissions and our energy addiction, the closer we approach the Abrupt Climate Change. And we must live under new conditions, which humans have never experienced before.
For the West, the economic and geopolitical risks of a destabilized China are compounded by the longer-term dangers of global warming. The number of coal-fired power plants being built by China between now and 2015 will generate twice the amount of greenhouse gases that the Kyoto Protocol signers agreed to cut by 2012. If China doesn’t figure out a way – now—to reduce or avoid their madness for coal-fired power plants, it is guarantee we will reach at least a .5 degree rise by 2012. Thus the risk of abrupt climate change begins to increase dramatically.
Of course, we don’t want this to happen. But to avoid catastrophe, we need to take drastic action. We all must cut our shopping habits and refrain from purchasing unnecessary goods and secondly,reduce our dependency of fossil fuels. These tasks may seem very difficult to do or even impossible, but as a conscientious society we must do what we have to do for survival. By setting an example the rest of the world would admire, the impossible may be obtained.
There is one answer I would love to throw out there for ones who do believe. GROW HEMP! A natural plant crop that can produce 25,000 of useful, eco-friendly products, an excellent biofuel for your vehicle, and can transform the oil, gas and energy sectors into a global, sustainable energy, life-preserving venture. But this must take place immediately – we can’t wait for 2020 or even 2015!
It must occur now!