Our planet has entered a new era. The era of climate consequences is upon us. Climate-related events and extreme weather are dominating the news. The impacts of global warming are all around us – droughts, wildfires, floods, melting ice, rising sea levels, natural disasters. The landscape is irreversibly changing.
Era of Climate Consequences in Pictures
Droughts: India endures the effects of one of the worst droughts in its history. At least 330 million people are suffering from scarce drinking water. India set a new heat record when the city of Rajasthan saw 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for several weeks in a row.
Image credit: Agence France-Presse
Floods: In Paris, the Seine river rose above its embankments peaking at over 6 metres, the highest level in decades. Unusually heavy rains caused severe flooding across central and northern France as well as parts of Germany, Belgium and Romania.
Photo credit: Photograph: Jeremy Lempin/EPA
Forest Fires: “This [Fort McMurray fire] is consistent with what we expect from human-caused climate change affecting our fire regime,” Mike Flannigan, a wildfire researcher at the University of Alberta, said. According to Flannigan, the fire season starts earlier and lasts longer than it did a few decades ago. The fire which began on May 1 has destroyed over 2,400 homes and forced the evacuation of over 80,000 people.
Photo credit: Bryan Alary, Phys.Org News
Arctic ice melting: Polar bears need sea ice to hunt their main prey, seals. Western fjords of Svalbard which normally freeze in winter, remained ice free all season during the winter of 2012/13, one of the worst on record for sea ice around the island archipelago. This bear headed hundreds of miles north, looking for suitable sea ice to hunt on before it finally collapsed and died. (Source: theguardian).
A male polar bear that starved to death as a consequence of climate change. Photo credit: Ashley Cooper, Images From a Warming Planet
Atmospheric CO2 Concentration:
Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration first crossed over the 400 parts per million threshold in 2013, but now, scientists are speculating that we may have entered an era when the global concentration remains permanently over that mark — an event some scientists are seeing as a point of no return. (Source: Dahr Jamail, Truthout).
Heavy use of coal in a slum in Suihua, Heilongjiang, (China) pumps out smoke into an already highly polluted atmosphere. Credit: Ashley Cooper, Images From a Warming Planet
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Activist and a blogger. He’s a member of 350.Org (Ottawa), Climate Reality Canada and Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa). Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest.
“We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.’” Mike McGinn
What will be the roll of the military going forward? Global warming has been declared a National Security issue for some time and the military is a top emitter. I have long argue that our military has to become GREEN in tooth and nail for the survival of the USA, and by inference, the world’s planetary life support systems. Given that the military has taken an oath to defend the Nation and its people from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, it presents a quandary. To wit: It costs the nation a lot of money to operate so it needs a strong capitalistic system to support it. However, that very capitalistic system of “socially enabled capitalism” of consumption and trash is clearly killing the people and Nation it has sworn to defend. Wasting trillions of dollars on fuel, weapons, infrastructure, and killing our youth. The military takes a dim view of wantonly killing the troops. Not only does it make for bad moral, i believe it is even treasonous.
Why not make all that stuff work for GREEN. All that tech, manpower, weapons manufacturing , the whole shebang. Build a new “SUPPER WEAPON,” a GREEN ECONOMY in a big hurry. As a Matter of National Defense. If we do that, Man power does not get killed, or the wounded a burden on the Nation till they die. Instead it becomes an asset to the Nation and the World. All the infrastructure stays in place for the transition but a different “weapons system” deployed. Arguably deploying socially redeemable technology throughout the nation and the world will promote peace and tranquility more effectively than bombs and drones.
For how long can the military justify sending legion after legion of our youth to kill and be killed in efforts that in the end will kill the military as well as the corporate capitalistic paradigm that it requires for support? Will the enlisted continue to march to its drums as family and friends back home succumb to planetary climate carnage? Surely at some point “no more” must prevail I would think.
Leif – I like your reference to the “Super Weapon”, a Green Economy. Changing the economic model from a fossil-fuel platform to clean technology will bring about a more just and equal world. Clean technology can be more widely distributed and accessible by both developed and emerging countries.
The United States military budget is larger than all other countries put together – over 650 billion. A mere 10% reallocation to greening the world would go a long way to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.
Thank you for your comments.
Lief, I absolutely agree with your thinking. Something similar needs to be considered here in the UK. Also, in the light of the developing situation, we need to rapidly halt the development and deployment of new nuclear WMDs and vigorously pursue further nuclear disarmament. As the tsunami of consequences hits we at least need to be heading in the right direction – if we are actively moving toward the higher ground of global peace and co-operation we will maximize survival chances for all. If on the other hand we continue to pursue the preparation of Mutually Assured Destruction, we can be sure that the nuclear warheads are going to start flying a little bit further down the line.
Somehow we need to get planet-wide acknowledgement of the state of emergency humanity is now in. We already know that we won’t get a lead from the global status quo – so somehow we need to achieve a huge synergic movement of effort and inspiration within the 99% who are less invested in pretending everything is going fine. The problem for the global 1% is that they must break the habit of defending their privileged existence, so that resources can be deployed wisely and serious conflict can be avoided.
Theo – thank you for your observations and welcome to BoomerWarrior.
As climate impacts continue to dominate our lives, the obvious need for major structural and institutional changes will stare us in the face. In spite of all the discussion and expectations generated by the Paris agreement, the world will fall far short of what is needed to reverse climate change. My grandchildren will live in a very different world than I have known.