Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Climate Change Red Alert: Do we have what it takes?

The latest IPCC report spells out a clear warning that human activity is causing global warming which will have dire consequences in the future

For those who deny everything and wish to sweep the warnings of the scientists under the carpet, label them as alarmists, bury their heads in the sand like the ostrich and make derisory remarks about global warming when there is a cold winter, I have a saying that I often use: if it makes you feel great, go for it. The trouble is, this attitude is not going to change anything. Everyone has the right to an opinion; the value of the opinion, depending on the gravitas of the person who expounds it, is what counts.

As we have seen with Covid-19, humankind has reached a point at which the Internet provides a wealth of information, contradictory information, some of it based on scientific truth and common sense, other parts belonging to the scrawlings on the walls of lunatic asylums or the toilets under soccer stadiums. As we have also seen with Covid-19, humankind is not ready to formulate a meaningful global policy based upon secure foundations.

Do we have what it takes?

Let us start with the question, do we have what it takes to deal with climate change? My answer is unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the global ecosystem and Nature (because we could possibly become extinct), yes we have what it takes but we are that stupid collectively that we will not be able to implement policies. So, we could possibly become extinct. The richer nations will gang up to protect their economies, power groups and lobbies will flout the rules, scientific evidence will be snorted at and criminals will find a way to make a fast buck at the expense of everyone else. This is precisely why I have been shooting off in all directions for decades in my articles calling for something called international law with strong mechanisms of implementation.

Where there’s muck, there’s brass

Sure, we have laws and covenants and treaties on paper and they look great but when it comes to the crunch, who are we kidding? We saw the outrage in international law in the war against Iraq, we saw the same in Libya, we saw the same in Syria where western powers once again cavorted with terrorists. The bottom line is that where there is muck (dirt), there is brass (money), to use a popular saying from Yorkshire, northern England.

We live in a world in which the collective military spending of NATO member states is one point two trillion USD each and every year, enough money to eradicate poverty, globally, forever, in just one single year. But where do we stand on that? Take a look at the map and see how many flashpoints and hotspots we have, every one of them steeped in human misery. So the bottom line is, it is more important to sell weapons systems to murder people than it is to create global well-being.  So why should anything be different with climate change?

The scientific evidence

Now let us examine the scientific evidence. Obviously, you can pick and choose and decide where to start the time frame. If you cut and paste it carefully, you could argue that the world is getting cooler because hey, this Summer is cooler than last and do you remember the coldest day for the last 200 years was only last January? And...and....and it snowed at the beginning of June, so climate change? (Chortle)

But let us use some common sense, look at the bigger picture and listen to the experts; after all they have spent years studying these things and no, most of them do not make a fortune out of big business groups linked to Green Economy consortiums.

Research on this topic will for some reason take you to graphs starting around 1850 and will show you a steady rise in average global temperature since then. Some graphs show a parallel line for temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. But let me show you a much wider graph, showing average global temperatures over the last 400,000 years. In this, we see a more or less perfect curve rising and falling in 50,000-year cycles, reflecting the theory of Serbian Professor Milutin Milankovich (The Milankovich Cycles) in which temperature cycles directly follow the Earth’s obliquity, or tilt, as it moves through an axis from left to right of center.

The tilt causes ocean currents and movements such as El Niño and La Niña and corresponding cycles in winds, driving weather cycles. Comforting? Not really because suddenly after the Industrial Revolution, things start to go awry and there is an exponential spike in temperature, until this day. So Milankovic was right: nature is balanced, until the hand of Humankind becomes visible.

And this is precisely where Humankind can step in and cease to overload what are after all natural cycles of increasing and decreasing temperatures and also rising and falling CO2 levels.

But is it already too late?

The thing is, Nature can deal with natural rises and falls. It cannot deal with a natural rising trend coupled with Humankind’s contribution, throwing the natural equilibrium off-balance. Humankind has never been in balance with Nature, animals and plants have, which is why the first thing that any self-respecting animal does when it sees a human is to run for its life.

Given our incapacity to produce and implement global policies, because we do not have a legal mechanism that works, it is my conclusion that we have already gone past tipping point and that the damage we have done will not suddenly cease. If that damage is already melting Siberia’s permafrost and the Polar Ice Caps, then there is another terrifying reality looming on the horizon waiting to lunge: the enormous quantity of methane gas (an important GEG, or Greenhouse Emission Gas) stored under Siberia’s permafrost and undersea clathrates and equally enormous quantities of methane gas stored under the Arctic and Antarctic Ice Caps.

So whatever measures we take now, our contribution has already created conditions which will see things get far worse before they become better, and that may take thousands and thousands of years. Whether or not we survive is anyone’s guess. A lot will depend on how other beings manage the climate extremes, such as honey bees. It would not surprise me if the conditions became so severe that in  the near future we will see wars over water supply, storms which raze whole cities, the subsequent breakdown in law and order, the crash of the now-so-popular casino economy (again), the appearance of new diseases which make Covid-19 look like a walk in the park, and the reappearance of existing diseases in new vectors (carriers) and venues.

The Sweating Sickness was much spoken about in early Tudor times in England until it suddenly disappeared (maybe when people stopped eating shrews) but something similar could appear, and just as lethal “well at lunch time, dead by tea time”: it claimed the life of Henry VIII’s elder brother Arthur, after all and therefore shaped the future history of England and the world. And if people in the USA cannot handle Covid, how are they going to manage with Chikungunya?

Conclusion: Making a concerted and meaningful effort to reduce climate change by reducing emissions of Greenhouse Gases, massively, and right now, will make sure that things do not become even worse than they most certainly will. We are in for a rough ride, ladies and gentlemen and so once again, we need the tools to manage this planet properly, and that means a legal framework called international law with global force and implementation. If my generation is incapable of doing it, let us hope that the ones following us will pick up the baton.

The author can be contacted at timothy.hinchey@gmail.com

 

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