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Do we feel lucky?

Written By: - Date published: 8:29 am, August 7th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: climate change, International - Tags: , ,

I wouldn’t usually write on the same topic two days in a row, but – can’t help myself. Yesterday I posted this piece from Bill McKibben:

We’re Hot as Hell and We’re Not Going to Take It Any More

Try to fit these facts together:

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the planet has just come through the warmest decade, the warmest 12 months, the warmest six months, and the warmest April, May, and June on record.

* A “staggering” new study from Canadian researchers has shown that warmer seawater has reduced phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain, by 40% since 1950.

Nine nations have so far set their all-time temperature records in 2010, including Russia (111 degrees), Niger (118), Sudan (121), Saudi Arabia and Iraq (126 apiece), and Pakistan, which also set the new all-time Asia record in May: a hair under 130 degrees. I can turn my oven to 130 degrees.

And then, in late July, the U.S. Senate decided to do exactly nothing about climate change. They didn’t do less than they could have — they did nothing, preserving a perfect two-decade bipartisan record of no action. Senate majority leader Harry Reid decided not even to schedule a vote on legislation that would have capped carbon emissions. …

Today, a perfectly matching volume to add to our copious library of stupidity:

US envoy: Climate talks slipping backward

BONN, Germany Global climate talks appear to have slipped backward after five days of negotiations in Bonn, the chief U.S. delegate said Friday, adding that some countries were reneging on promises they made last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Poor countries agreed with the grim assessment made by U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing, saying that latest round of talks on how to fight global warming have been frustrating.

The sharp divide between rich and poor nations over how best to fight climate change — a clash that torpedoed a summit in Copenhagen last December — remains, and bodes ill for any deal at the next climate convention in Cancun, Mexico, which begins in November.

Gotta ask the question. Do we as a species actually have the will to save ourselves? Do we care? Because we know this story ends:

World on course for catastrophic 6° rise, reveal scientists

The world is now firmly on course for the worst-case scenario in terms of climate change, with average global temperatures rising by up to 6C by the end of the century, leading scientists said yesterday. Such a rise which would be much higher nearer the poles would have cataclysmic and irreversible consequences for the Earth, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable and threatening the basis of human civilisation.

We are headed for it, the scientists said, because the carbon dioxide emissions from industry, transport and deforestation which are responsible for warming the atmosphere have increased dramatically since 2002, in a way which no one anticipated, and are now running at treble the annual rate of the 1990s. Although the 6C rise and its potential disastrous effects have been speculated upon before, this is the first time that scientists have said that society is now on a path to meet it. …

Just how dangerous was signalled in 2007 by the science writer Mark Lynas, who combed all the available scientific research to construct a picture of a world with [a 6° increase]. He said: ‘It would cause a mass extinction of almost all life and probably reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles.’

Very few species could adapt in time to the abruptness of the transition, he suggested. ‘With the tropics too hot to grow crops, and the sub-tropics too dry, billions of people would find themselves in areas of the planet which are essentially uninhabitable. This would probably even include southern Europe, as the Sahara desert crosses the Mediterranean. ‘As the ice-caps melt, hundreds of millions will also be forced to move inland due to rapidly-rising seas. As world food supplies crash, the higher mid-latitude and sub-polar regions would become fiercely-contested refuges.

It’s slower than Clint Eastwood with a .44 magnum, but the end result will be the same. Do we feel lucky? Do we?

22 comments on “Do we feel lucky?”

  1. RedLogix 1

    With time this unforgiveable inaction will complete the discrediting our existing system of politics.

    Nowhere in the Western world is there a vigorous, well-repsected government that is implementing a clear plan…of any kind…with solid mandate from the people it is working for. Most younger people especially, have little faith or respect for governments as we have them at present.

    We are wallowing in a pool of stagnant degeneracy, crippled by lies and mass stupidity, mired neck-deep in arrogant hubris.

    Those who do care for the planet have been completely betrayed by political process. We are now fully justified in taking direct action against the burners.

    • Ag 1.1

      Take direct action against the burners? What good will that do? Most of your neighbours are “burners” of one sort or another whether out or malice or sheer ignorance. It’s the majority of voters who are the problem, and our unwillingness to admit that just compounds the misery. Having said that, I would laugh if someone whacked one of the chief denier goons.

      Our system of politics is already discredited.

      Like I have been saying for some years now, democracy isn’t up to the job of solving GCC. So either we get rid of democracy for the time it takes to build a green economy, or we simply accept that the world will warm. At least New Zealand is in a better position than almost any other country to deal with it, so I suggest we start long term planning to keep climate refugees out as best we can and to building some sort of industrial base so that we can manufacture the things we need. At least that can be done, since there has never been a problem in whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment among the troglodytes who form the majority of the NZ voting public.

      Trying to do anything about GCC through democratic politics is the definition of stupid.

  2. nilats 2

    I feel luky. GW is just a myth, middle ages had similar tempertures to today. Greenland well it was green believe it or not. Just a dumb idea pushed by communists/socialists to tax people for breathing. Before I get shot down by the fuitloops who post here here is my mantra:

    I understand the radiative capture of CO2. I accept that radiative capture causes warming.
    I acknowledge that there is climate feedback to warming. I assert that the rest is unknown.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      The only unknown here is the depth of own wilful ignorance.

      If you had potentially lethal cancer, you would listen to the advise of oncologists. People with years of specialised training and hands-on expertise. You might not like what the man tells you and you have the choice to ignore him, but the chances are you will die if you do not.

      The planet has a climate cancer, the only people worth listening to are the researchers with years of specialised training and hands-on expertise. Sure many folk do no like what they are telling us…and if was just your life in the line, I’d have no especial objection if you chose to throw it away. But it’s not just you involved here…. it’s all of us.

      You are entitled to your own opinion…but not to your own facts.

      • nilats 2.1.1

        I know more about science than you do mate and I am not a fool that listens to the likes of Greenpeace for information. I have been interested in CC since 1992 and I call you fucken ignorant you communist fuckwit.

        • RedLogix

          I know more about science than you do mate

          Precious little evidence from you so far to support that claim …. mate.

        • lprent

          You are an puerile moron with no apparent training or ability in science. I say that because you haven’t said anything that shows you understand anything about earth sciences. You seem to have read some history about the effects of a regional climate shift in the north Atlantic. However you have misinterpreted tat as being global.

          That is a signature of a CCD completely ignorant of tts subject.

    • blacksand 2.2

      Jesus you’re a thickie; would you buy a house in Strawberry Fields genuinely expecting it to be covered in strawberries?

      Perhaps they called it Greenland because some grass grew there in a few places, perhaps even enough to support a small low level pastoral group of vikings and they thought it might sound encouraging to other settlers?

      Pretty thick mantra too. Most of the unknown in the modeling is due to the uncertainty as to which decisions humanity will take to mitigate (or not) greenhouse gas emmissions. ‘The rest is unknown’ sounds like you can’t be bothered evaluating whether atmospheric physicists actually do know more than you’ve managed to accept.

    • Luxated 2.3

      Greenland is so named because of the green fjords in the south west where the Norse settled, not because all the ice melted and the island became a veritable cornucopia…

  3. Shona 3

    Wow nilats you’re like so on to it! Since 1992 ! gosh how prescient. I first learnt the science behind climate change in 1973 and have lived my life according it’s inevitability. Conserving native forest. Planting more forest . Initiating seedbanks, establishing nurseries. Teaching my offspring to live according to need not want . Using alternative fuels. Recyling, reusing, reducing consumption. Applying my understanding of biological systems to the way I and family live. Only a political illiterate would dribble and splutter about climate change being a communist plot. Seriously!
    Captcha: odd !

  4. Bill 4

    Climate Change is not the principle problem. It is a symptom of the underlying problem.

    The last white rhino in the Kruger National Park was killed and it’s horn removed.
    The last tuna will be fished and frozen by Mitsubishi.
    If a pair of breeding huia were discovered they would be shot.

    What killed the rhino, will kill the tuna and would kill the huia?

    It’s the market that created the environment of negative incentives and positive rewards whereby the poaching of the final rhino was only ever a case of when rather than if.

    It’s the market that’s creating the environment where extinct, frozen tuna will be worth much, much more than live freshly caught tuna. Meaning that the prospect of living tuna is to be viewed negatively.

    And the market for huia feathers would collapse were huia not extinct. So the market determines that they will remain extinct.

    And politicians and business leaders have as their prime and sometimes only focus the market; it’s positive/negative movements and it’s growth.

    So if climate change, which has come about because of the environment created by the market, can be subjected to the market and money made from it, then to hell with the climate….alongside the tuna and the rhino and any silly notion of elevating any other matter above market matters.

    The politicians and business leaders…governments and corporations…who we have placed our faith in and whose reason for existing; whose motivations for doing what they do can be described in terms of market prerogatives, obfuscate and fail to take decisive action(s).

    And we, successfully distracted continue to merely highlight the latest measurements of the symptoms while leaving the agents of ecocide in charge of our biosphere.

    It’s like we’re giving a patient’s temperature readings and heart readings and whatever other health indicators can be monitored while asking the filthy bastard who keeps tipping skull and crossbones branded bottles into the drip to come up with a strategy to save our patient’s life.

    • Jenny 4.1

      Because it has been such a success in the Gulf of Mexico.

      Let us rely on The Invisible Hand of the Free Market to deal with climate change.

      capcha – occur

    • RedLogix 4.2

      That puts into the question into stark clarity Bill. If nothing else the whole AGW issue has thrown into a vivid light the almost limitless capacity humans have for self-deception.

      It is the deep moral values that we believe in as a people that counts. Not just you or me Bill, but the whole human race. AGW is a global crisis, the solution will also have to be global…. and come from our own hearts.

      When I was younger I strongly believed that as a race we could transform ourselves into something better. Now I think it’s too late. Change will be forced upon us the hard way.

      • loota 4.2.1

        Change is going to be forced upon our grandchildren the hard way, and they will blame our ignorance and self serving intransigence.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2

        A few years ago I thought we still had time and then read real research rather than listen to the MSM and realised that we had passed the point of no return sometime in about the 1970s. As Loota says, it will be our children and grandchildren that will be learning from our collective stupidity. The Moncktons of the world have won the ecological battle and lost us the world.

  5. Bill 5

    “Change is going to be forced upon our grandchildren the hard way, and they will blame…”

    Hate to burst your bubble.

    But what change? What grandchildren? What blame?

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Hate to burst your bubble.

      Doubt it. Popping folks bubble’s is the kind of thing that just makes your day.

      But in the long run regardless of what we do, both the planet and the human race will survive in some form or another. Exactly what form is hard to predict.

      The gloomy option is that after a succession of mega-catastrophe’s, wars, pestilence and starvation (The Four Horsemen scenario) we will be reduced to maybe a few dozen million survivors scattered in rude enclaves scrapping out a brute living off what little they can find. The human race has been through several ‘genetic bottle-necks’ in our pre-history during which barely a handful of humans remained; it’s happened before it can happen again.

      Alternatively we might get lucky and when the population is reduced to maybe a tenth of what it is now, we will, through fear of the consequences of doing otherwise, firmly establish a sound form of global governance. It will of necessity place the principles of justice and equity at the forefront of it’s deliberations while remaining openly and transparently accountable to the nations, cultures and races it represents. It will be like nothing else we have ever attempted.

      As Albert Einstein once pointed out:

      We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Aw Red, c’mon. I much prefer blowing bubbles. Here’s one.

        People in adversity that follows on from natural disasters or whatever, tend to get highly cooperative and selfishness becomes something that is roundly condemned and frowned upon. I know our media would have us believe otherwise what with their coverage of Haiti and whatever.

        Anyhow. As long as their is no over arching oppressive authority or dynamic making for unnatural advantages and disadvantages, nobody plays the scapegoat game and nobody gets done over in ways that are in addition to whatever it is that has already befallen people at large.

        It’s a kind of extension of the truism that it is those with sweet f.a. who tend to be the more generous and capable of empathy.

        Anyway. Humanity will survive, but many bloodlines won’t (hence the ‘what grand children’ question). A recognisable parody of our civilisations and cultures will, hopefully not survive either. Elsewise we’ll just wind up right back where we started after some fashion or other.

        Meanwhile, if we simply pause, reflect on and cease those behaviours or actions we ourselves exhibit or undertake that contribute as it were, to the filling of the skull and crossbones bottle of that analogy from my previous comment, then everyone apart from the filthy bastard politicians, business leaders and their attendant legions of lackeys just might be okay.

        We need to go to war on them; those behaviours, actions and people. Skip arguing about the environment. It’s not the problem. We are; our market systems and political institutions and the support we lend them are. But those things end and cease completely at the moment they lose access to any sense of credibility that we currently afford them.

        Dead easy innit?

        All you have to ask yourself if you are one of the filthy bastard’s lackeys or not. And if not, then behave and act appropriately and dump all that extraneous shit that the filthy bastards would have you believe is important. ‘Cause it binds you. And might kill your blood line.

        Your call.

        • RedLogix

          A recognisable parody of our civilisations and cultures will, hopefully not survive either.

          Yes that’s true. That’s an idea recognised by seers and prophets over and again. They all understood that the path we were on had it’s inevitable end-point, and we would of necessity transition to a whole new way of thinking and living. We’re hip-deep into that change.

          I’ve long realised that trying to predict the details of how it’s all going to play out is beyond the capacity of mortal minds. The best we can hope for is to grasp some broad outlines of the process and to trust that however fraught immediate events become, in the long run we will be able to look back and wonder why it took us so long to see the light.

          As for being a filthy bastard lackey…. few of us living in the developed world have clean hands. I do what I can although it can never be enough. Sometimes all I can face is to head off into the hills for a day or two and get some ‘green behind the eyeballs’.

  6. jaymam 6

    In an odd way this is cheering news!

    Captcha: whatever

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    New Zealand has joined Canada and Chile in a new trade initiative aimed at increasing women’s participation in global trade. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, together with Canada’s Minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrés Allamand, and Chile’s Vice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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    Building owners around New Zealand have benefited from the latest round of Heritage EQUIP funding with grants totalling $2,230,166. “The Heritage EQUIP grants for seismic strengthening assist private building owners to get the professional advice they need to go ahead with their projects or support them to carry out the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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