Climate change is killing 150,000 people a year NOW. That is the 2000 estimate of the World Health Organization, so it is ten years out of date. The once in a thousand year 2010 Moscow heatwave has caused an estimated 15,000 deaths.
For the “we have nothing to do with it” global warming deniers, here is a little primer on the current state of the science:
The science is already in.
One can find a metacommentary on Russia’s heatwave here:
Climate records are being broken all over the world this year:
This is actuality. It does matter. And it cannot be stopped, but it can (I hope) be moderated to a level where we can survive global warming, by cutting carbon emissions drastically.
“Business as usual” = civilizational collapse.
If you do not care, do not have children. They will not forgive you.
I read them, and I am not a scientist.
The human race currently emits 45 billion tons of carbon a year. And we do not do it by breathing or farting alone!
We have multiplied our biological carbon emissions as a species many fold through the development of technology, which required the burning of fossil fuels, the ancient sunlight of antiquity. Thus we become our own Nemesis.
It is difficult to point to any aspect of our current material lives that is not dependent on fossil fuels in some way, from plastic bags to cheap food.
We are changing the climate, and without global carbon emission reductions there is point of no return, where positive feedbacks kick in and carbon emissions from natural processes such as the melting of the subarctic tundra and the burning of the world’s forests, start to exceed annual human emissions, and kick global warming into high gear.
We have a little window of opportunity now. No-one knows how long it is. It seems, from my years of reading on the subject of global warming, that it will certainly be closed by 2030.
And that date is based on the most optimistic of all projections.
When the climate “tipping points” are passed (the scientific consensus – but NO-ONE REALLY KNOWS – is that this starts to happen at 1.5 to 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial global temperatures: we are currently 0.8 degrees Centigrade above), we are in for a very rough ride indeed.
That article is from yesterday’s UK newspaper, The Independent.
Given the current levels of urgency regarding this issue on the part of the global elites, runaway global warming is currently more likely than not.
Anthropogenic global warming has the potential to be the new global genocide. A genocide of the poor by the richest countries, with the highest per capita output of carbon emissions. Ask a Pakistani farmer in Sindh province how he is doing at the moment, and what his prospects are for 2011.
With runaway climate change, civilization will collapse, and there will – at some point after 2050 – be a catastrophic collapse in global human population in the “business as usual” scenario (I do not like James Lovelock’s politics at all, but in that sense he is hard to contradict). For more on this, see Anatoly Karlin’s review of Six Degrees, by Mark Lynas
It is a very graphic and a very detailed description, degree by degree of global warming above pre-industrial levels, of how human induced global warming is changing the world we live in. And the précis saves you reading the book.
It’s fun to read! Apocalypse Now!
Please read Anatoly Karlin’s review of Lynas if you read nothing else I reference. It is a glimpse into the uncertain future toward which we are headed, with no stars to steer by.
Global capitalism requires 3% compound growth to continue in existence, as David Harvey explains here in 3 parts. Capitalism must expand, or die. Both natural and institutional limits to the self-reproduction of Capital are a mortal threat to its very being. 3% compound growth, and our additional numbers, explain why the human species has moved from using 62% of planetary biocapacity in 1961 to 144% of planetary biocapacity in 2006. Is your country living within the mercy of its ecological means? Check the ecological footprint network atlas.
Not sustainable, not a good outlook for the species. “No future, no future, no future for me,” as the Sex Pistols once sang.
I suspect, therefore, that the answer to human survival in this century and the next, and a civilizational level higher than that described in the visionary dystopian novel of global warming, Far North by Marcel Theroux, lies in a revisioning and implementation of communism.
Read it and see what you think; then comment.
Despite the 20th century deviation of Communism from its original envisioning by Marx and Engels, and the ecological disasters of the Eastern Bloc, Mao’s China and the Soviet Union, Marx’s vision of post scarcity communism was profoundly ecological.
Cuba is the only country in the world today that lives within its ecological limits (page 14).
I find it very heartening that there remains one country in the world that has, largely by default, found a sustainable way to live, and that it is, with all its human rights and politico-economic flaws, a non-capitalist country.
Cuba is a glimmer of hope in a world ruled by the mantras of greed and growth. But not the only one by any means.