Climate Change - Reality Check - The Blind Leading the Blind
This is an essay that I had originally posted at TOS, but I have cut it up, and have performed some editing (removed a few expletives, tried to fix some grammar lol) and sliced into several smaller, easily digestible "parts", this being part 1, of 5.
What my non scientific eyes tell me, is that, we are already close to the tipping point(1) of run away climate change now, but “humanity” is failing to respond in a “responsible” manner. While I know many are pleased by our president's effort's toward this end, as well as the recent signing of the Paris Climate agreement by so many countries was encouraging, however the “reality” is that the Paris agreement falls woefully short in many areas, but most importantly, the target of reducing global emissions to limit temperature rise:
The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. (They target 1.5°C as the “magic number”)
First and for most what do they mean , avoid dangerous climate change? Heck, that is already happening now.
Take Syria for example. The country wasn't thrown into turmoil because of the Arab Spring, as many MSM and their paid pundits like to claim, it was the huge drought(2) that Syria experienced starting in about 2006, that forced tens of thousands of farmers and their families, into the cities, which over loaded their “systems” ability to deal with the huge influx of people and all the ramifications that influx brought with it.
From 2006-2011, up to 60% of Syria’s land experienced, in the terms of one expert, “the worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago.” According to a special case study from last year’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR), of the most vulnerable Syrians dependent on agriculture, particularly in the northeast governorate of Hassakeh (but also in the south), “nearly 75 percent…suffered total crop failure.” Herders in the northeast lost around 85% of their livestock, affecting 1.3 million people.
“the worst crop failures since the agricultural civilization began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago. “
(How can I scream that at the top of my lungs, without seemling like a raging lunatic?)
Also according to the same article:
The reasons for the collapse of Syria’s farmland are a complex interplay of variables, including climate change, natural resource mis-management, and demographic dynamics.
A NOAA study study published last October in the Journal of Climate found strong and observable evidence that the recent prolonged period of drought in the Mediterranean littoral and the Middle East is linked to climate change. On top of this, the study also found worrying agreement between observed climate impacts, and future projections from climate models. A recent model of climate change impacts on Syria conducted by conducted by IFPRI, for example, projects that if current rates of global greenhouse gas emissions continue, yields of rainfed crops in the country may decline “between 29 and 57 percent from 2010 to 2050.”
(bold emphasis mine)
Let me stop here a second and speak a little about "systems" for a moment. Whether you believe me or not, "everything" is a part of some "system", and as we go through and categorize the number of differing systems, both man made and the natural systems, like our solar "system". We forget, it seems, just how interconnected and interdependent these "systems" are on one another and just how dependent our species are on them functioning with in a tiny window of narrow parameters, that enable our existence in the first place.
Clean water, clean air, a clean environment, all are essential elements for human survival but we, as a species have impact our natural systems to such a great affect, they are no longer able to recover as quickly. While these systems are hugely resilient, like anything is the universe, apply to much pressure, wear it out too much and things go boom!
But unlike the boom of a brilliant super nova in deep space, climate change is the slow boiling frog. We're cooked before we know it. But let's not forget either, that the fire on this burner has been cooking for more than 25 years. In the early 90's we were told we have about a decade to prepare for climate change. It's nearly 30 years down the road. (Hello, we're in boiling water, just thought I say something! )
Well from my understanding, we haven't hit the “magic number” yet, but climate change is already having seriously dangerous, and not to mention deadly impacts. With a 1.5°C or 2°C rise in global average surface temperatures, we will see more and more of this. Social and government systems will overload to the point of collapse and possible chaos.
From the Independent(3):
“It means hotter global temperatures, more extreme weather events like heatwaves and floods, melting ice, rising sea levels and increased acidity of the oceans. This is happening now and we are moving into unchartered territory at a frightening speed,” said Michel Jarraud, the secretary general of the WMO.
“Every year we report a new record in greenhouse gas concentrations. Every year we say that time is running out. We have to act now to slash greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have a chance to keep the increase in temperatures to manageable levels,” Mr Jarraud said.
(bold emphasis mine)
A 2°C rise in global average surface temperatures across the planet, in reality, is going to have a huge impact on our civilization. A prolonged drought in Syria, help along by climate change, led to over a million people mass migrating to the cities, which as a result of the government and society inability to respond (ineffective "systems"), lead to a civil war, that has opened the way for ISIS, and more mass migrations to Europe, which is threatening to destabilize Europe. (Does that qualify for a dangerous impact? Just saying...)
It started as a drought and in just ten years, over 250K, or more, are dead. Some estimate a figure as low as 150K, while some put the figure as high as more that 470K(4). How about hundreds of thousands of innocent people, dead? Will that do for a figure?
Another example of dangerous climate change that is already happening , From RollingStone:
Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people.
(bold emphasis mine)
Excuse me while I retort, "dangerous climate change, WTF are you talking about, it's already happening and we haven't begun to mitigate anything".
Heck, we are already balancing precariously on the edge of climate Armageddon (multiple positive feed back loops), and 2°C rise in global average surface temperatures will bring about unimaginable chaos across large swaths of our planet.
Not to mention this magic number in the Paris agreement, is nothing but fiction. A number developed through political consensus, not science. But we are in uncharted waters, the blind leading the blind as it were.
1 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US
2 - Climate Security.Org
3 - Independent
4 - New York Times