Written By: notices and features - Date published: 12:39 pm, March 25th, 2012 - 18 comments
Categories: climate change -
Tags: extreme weather, Tom Scott
Tom Scott’s take:
“Earth Sends Climate Warning by Busting World Heat Records
First decade of 21st Century warmest on record; US locations break 7,000 temperature records in March ”
“The increase in global temperatures since 1971 has been “remarkable” according to the WHO’s assessment. Atmospheric and oceanic phenomena such as La Niña events had a temporary cooling influence in some years, the report says, but did not halt the overriding warming trend.
The “dramatic and continuing sea ice decline in the Arctic” was one of the most prominent features of the changing state of the climate during the decade, according to the preliminary findings. Global average precipitation was the second highest since 1901 and flooding was reported as the most frequent extreme event, it said.”
Climate change is here to stay. And it’s not a love song! Re Gershwin
“The human being has been shown to be a force of nature, even as long ago as forty thousand years ago, when Australia was first colonized by our species:
“Our results suggest that human arrival rather than climate caused megafaunal extinction, which then triggered replacement of mixed rainforest by sclerophyll vegetation through a combination of direct effects on vegetation of relaxed herbivore pressure and increased fire in the landscape. This ecosystem shift was as large as any effect of climate change over the last glacial cycle, and indicates the magnitude of changes that may have followed megafaunal extinction elsewhere in the world.”
“The Aftermath of Megafaunal Extinction: Ecosystem Transformation in Pleistocene Australia”
Susan Rule et al; Science, VOL 335 23 MARCH 2012.
In short, as Ronald Wright pointed out in his “A Short History of Progress”, we hunted ourselves out of a job, eventually to the point of becoming stunted farmers, both physically and intellectually, sedentary, conservative, quarrelsome and then warlike – out of necessity, there being only so much to go around on a finite planet amongst a species whose population explosion is now coming to its pre-destined conclusion.
The result is as you see it today – a devastated ecosphere rapidly warming due to our activities – and incessant war, which shows absolutely no signs of abating in the foreseeable future.”
MotherJones link to same heatwave.
Great article. Real Climate were running the “dog is the weather” video a while back too – good to see someone else picking up on it.
incessant war, which shows absolutely no signs of abating in the foreseeable future
Compare this with Steven Pinker’s narrative – that fewer people died from violence over the last decade than in any decade of the 20thC, and that per capita deaths from violence have decreased with time. Further, that the 20thC was far from the most violent Century in Earth’s history:
Wasn’t the 20th century the most violent in history?
Probably not; see chapter 5, especially pp. 189–200. Historical data from past centuries are far less complete, but the existing estimates of death tolls, when calculated as a proportion of the world’s population at the time, show at least nine atrocities before the 20th century (that we know of) which may have been worse than World War II. They arose from collapsing empires, horse tribe invasions, the slave trade, and the annihilation of native peoples, with wars of religion close behind. World War I doesn’t even make the top ten.
Which narrative is correct? Pinker seems to have the data on his side.
Incessant war doesn’t mean most violent but that it continues without end. Of course, such incessant war is also more likely to escalate into the most violent especially as resources decline.
I’d suggest several things:
1. The advent of nuclear weapons has made all-out unrestrained war a highly risky undertaking… all of the wars since the end of WW2 have run their course at way less than the total military capacity of the nations involved.
2. The advent of high-tech medical intervention and rapid evacuation has reduced the number of battlefield deaths…(while increasing the proportion of chronic debilitating injuries).
3. Disease, that other great killer in antiquity, has been largely moderated in modern times. Modern humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross/Crescent and the like, greatly reduce the civilian casualities.
4. And while the UN falls well short of the expectations of it’s founders; it has nonetheless played an important role in global affairs that should not be underestimated.
I had this quaint idea that global warming would at least enable me to grow warmer weather crops….as a gardener I have noticed the changes we are getting from global warming. Its not pretty, it means to me more garden damage from high wind events, less definite seasons (i.e not predictable or stable), single crop failures whilst others bloom etc.
For a farmer iit must be a bit of a nightmare, everything seems to be getting more extreme.
Hello, hello. Is the mike on?
Great, lets have lots more endless circular discussions about whether climate change is real or not.
Hopefully some deniers will come on line and join the discussion, then we can really stroke our egos by proving how clever and well informed we all are.
But for goodness sake, let us not encourage, or popularise any attempts to cut fossil fuel use.
More force heating (by increasing levels of CO2 and methane) produces a constant pace in the global system, and actually should hold back chaos (guessing). But once we stop and pull back from new CO2 inputs (and methane does not increase from tundra bogs, etc). Then human direct forcing of the climate falls off. That’s one threat. Second threat is a warmer sea produces more moisture, and continents will get more rain and snow, eventually ice cover will increase once forced heating by new CO2 discontinues. This is called the warm seas, cold continent scenario. Remembering that boggy methane rich areas are next to the warmer seas and so last to get the boost from cooling of continents.
So its not going to be nice in fifty years time.
But waaaaay before that, let’s see where humanity is with the energy and resources crunch which is biting now.
In 3-4 years its going to be very very obvious that BAU is over, and that the new BAU for the 99% will be coping in subsistence.
Local communities and local economies are going to get much stronger again; there ain’t going to be any other choice.
Next you will be advocating one world government , and one world leader, one world currency to control everything. Believe this what the Greens are advocating freedom is such a wonderful thing
Exactly the same as nation-based governments… just on a larger and more logical scale. No?
All the major problems the world face are global in nature; logical that they should require a global scale institution to address them.
Just like the UN the greatest socialist organisation in the world hardly a roaring success. Why would we want to create another one. Its all about wealth redistribution ,and very little about climate change at the crux of the matter
It took hundreds of turbulent years between the signing of the Magna Carta, the 1689 Bill of Rights and the eventual appearance of the modern form of Westminster government as we now recognise it.
The UN was only the second attempt at global scale governance and a lot more effective than it’s predecessor. What the UN evolves into will be in response to the short-comings of the present version. Takes time this sort of thing.
Understand where you are coming from but I value personal freedom greatly any organisation like this erodes personal freedom, and trys to control everyone
Global governance would control no more or less than any national government or local government. Or even as your own family does. They are all simply social institutions that allow people to organise, solve problems and co-exist at various scales.
What I suggest you are really asking for is meaningful democratic participation and accountability from these institutions… and that is the nub of the problem at every scale.
True but they produce a value set that often meets an agenda that is pushed by radcials which they are pushing and you are obliged to follow it. Can be totally different from your values
Ah.. yes. But there is only one thing worse than no government, and that is no government.
Up to about 200 individuals can co-exist without much in the way of formalised hierarchy and authority. At that scale everyone pretty much knows everyone, what they’ve done, what they are capable of, and what they should be doing. It only requires a loose, fluid sort of organisation. Especially if there isn’t anything much in the way of property involved.
Beyond that limit humans always evolve some form of institutional organisation. It just seems necessary. None of the forms we’ve come up with so far are perfect, or immune to takeover by radicals… but over many thousands of years we’ve tinkered and adjusted.
And we’ll keep on doing so.
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