Procrastination, ignorance and denial are human specialties. Along with greed, these attributes are the weaknesses that will dramatically change the world as we know it – and soon.
Global carbon dioxide emissions hit a record high in 2011 and will be higher again this year – 58 per cent above 1990 levels, the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol.
Everything positive you’ve read about the battle against global warming have merely been band-aids over a gangrenous wound. We’ve outsourced emissions elsewhere and the political will simply isn’t there to make the changes required in time. In many cases, our own will is too weak to make the sacrifices needed.
It’s increasingly looking as though we won’t be able rein in and then *reduce* greenhouse gas emissions to a point that the world won’t warm more than 2C by the end of the century – and make no mistake, the 2C scenario is far from ideal.
Instead, we seem to be looking at a 4C to 6C temperature rise by the century’s end. This will render many regions at times uninhabitable for all but the hardiest of humans, animals and plants. Such an average increase will see more intense weather events and erratic weather patterns.
I’m not particularly forward to my demise, but I’m very glad I won’t be alive at that point in time.
But even now there a signs that the times, they are a-changin’; and quickly. So many records have been broken in relation to weather – and few of a good kind.
Last week, we had a series of storms in my neck of the woods and hundreds of thousands of bolts of lightning throughout the state during the events.
During one episode, I watched the water race down the garden in a shallow torrent not there just 2 minutes before. As it reached my back door and the wind howled, the electricity flickered and then shut off. I thought to myself, “this is what climate change looks like”.
Prior to these storms we had an extended dry spell and temperatures more consistent with the middle of summer.
The particularly vigorous storm was nothing compared to events like Hurricane Sandy. It was short-lived and nobody died. I had a bit of flooding through one room and some mess to clean up. But it did get me thinking again about being better prepared for the future.
Where were the sandbags that I’d been telling myself I must buy? Why wasn’t the generator and mobile solar rig hooked up, ready to go? How about that tree limb hanging precariously over the shed? Why wasn’t X,Y,Z done?
Not knowing how bad the storm was going to get (funnel clouds had been sighted – another unusual event for the area), these things raced through my mind.
Procrastination… and this from someone who believes things are going to get far worse and much sooner than expected. Procrastination, denial and greed is what has brought us to this point and it will also be what kills many of us.
We may be too late on avoiding what we could have with regard to climate change; but:
a) It’s still not too late to keep trying to reduce our impact. We owe it to future generations and we owe it to the planet that has sustained us.
b) Now is the time to prepare for what is likely to come – to be able to adapt quickly.
Something else to bear in mind when considering a climate change affected future: remember we are always only 3 square meals away from anarchy – and that prospect is as frightening as anything nature may throw at us.