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CLIMATE RAMIFICATIONS: CAUSES AND EFFECTS July 3, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Environment, Humankind/Planet Earth.
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Individuals might be excused for not having the intuitive time frame to encompass climate, let alone change to climate over time that allows it be to observed and seen as real.

I can relate to this deficiency because I have difficulty thinking twelve months ahead, so I am left with the sense that this is the coldest winter I can remember. The same excuse does not apply to corporations and to governments, although many politicians seem only able to concentrate on the electoral cycle and the even more immediate news cycle.

Still, who will speak and think for Earth? And more importantly the young and the generations to come? What is the time range to frame an set of appropriate global responses to what is a global problem. The nation state is a form of bounded rationality, presupposing national interests which are mostly irrelevant and sometimes counter-productive to providing the path through the fog of despair that the extreme weather events of climate change will continue to present.

Steve Connor in The Independent reports:

Climate researchers from Britain, the United States and other parts of the world have formed a new international alliance that aims to investigate exceptional weather events to see whether they can be attributable to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

They believe that it is no longer plausible merely to claim that extreme weather is “consistent” with climate change. Instead, they intend to assess each unusual event in terms of the probability that it has been exacerbated or even caused by the global temperature increase seen over the past century.

The move is likely to be highly controversial because the science of “climate attribution” is still in the early stages of development and so is likely to be pounced on by climate “sceptics” who question any link between industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and rises in global average temperatures.

In the past scientists have been extremely reluctant to link a single extreme weather event with climate change, arguing that the natural variability of the weather makes it virtually impossible to establish any definitive association other than a possible general consistency with what is expected from studies based on computer models.

However, a growing number of climate scientists are now prepared to adopt a far more aggressive posture, arguing that the climate has already changed enough for it to be affecting the probability of an extreme weather event, whether it is an intense hurricane, a major flood or a devasating drought.

Climate Change is not the only challenge that humanity are facing now and in the future. In some ways Global Warming is a symptom of a deep and potentially deadly malaise in human affairs. When I have sought to identify the long term issues – disease, over population, water and food security, pollution, justice and equity, among them – I am surprised how interconnected they seem to be.

The issues of global peace and justice seem to me to be fundamental to solving many problems, but I was surprised by the suggestion that violence was so strongly related to climate change. Christian Parenti has written Climate Chaos in which he argues that global warming is now inducing global warfare. He argues that there is now a new geography of violence, not so much between nation states which have been gutted by IMF and World Bank policies of restructuring destroying social safety nets and support systems but within states by social breakdown, civil war and criminality.

He quotes the example of Pakistan where the flooding of Indus created refugees who now prefer to stay in their temporary aid camps rather than return to their landlord controlled systems of indenture. The poppy growers of Afghanistan have an advantage that under conditions of a long drought their crop requires one-fifth of the water required to crow wheat. In turn they then become the targets of the ministrations of the invaders.

CODA:

David Randall, Simon Murphy and Daud Yussuf at The Independent report that “starvation is haunting the horn of Africa”.

Counter-Insurgency warfare and outside intervention is not just designed to deal with social breakdown it exacerbates it by destroying social solidarity and increasing fractional and ethnic tensions. Imposed lawlessness serves to normalize criminality. The drone missile attacks in Somalia and Yemen are not designed to improve social conditions, but rather to reinforce and impose a systems of violence and social inequality.

Climate change denial will not solve the problem. If extreme weather events are now upon us. The problem is as much conceptual, such as the difference between you and I which apparently the little girl down the street who turned two yesterday has recently has now grasped, and social as it is technological. I suspect that if we cannot see far enough into the future we as species will be overcome by despair and go down fighting. Can the human spirit and human consciousness rise to the challenge, if only to provide determination in the face of adversity?

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