We have to look forward to an age of increasing and fearsome devastation. The evidence is there. Of course, we must seek, and indeed have even more incentive than before, to salvage joy, comfort, interest and achievement in our individual daily lives but, in general, humanity is fated to endure terrible misfortune on a growing scale.
For a start man will inflict destruction on his fellow man with increasing ruthlessness. The growth of terrorism, the clash of faiths, the greater deadliness of weapons are not avoidable. Even less avoidable are the deadly conflicts which will take place over the rapidly depleting resources, especially of water. Whatever civilized norms of behaviour between nations have been established after long endeavour will increasingly break down.
Since September 11, 2001 the world has entered an era of accelerating brutality and unstoppable destruction. Ruthless terror is met by equally pitiless preemptive war. Indiscriminate, merciless, devastation is visited on all sides in endless revenge and counter-revenge. The world is becoming a nest of scorpions set upon stinging each other to death. The limits which humanity has tried to place on torturing, cruelty and killing are being steadily dismantled.
This is ominous enough but increasingly it looks as if the impact of climate change will visit the world with natural disasters on a scale unimaginable in recorded history. Of course, this ‘natural’ overturning of the normal will also be the result of man’s own carelessness since the steady, appalling increase in global warming stems from man’s stubborn inattention to what is really important in how the world is run.
If nothing continues to be done – and by nothing I include all the current shaking of scientific heads and wringing of political hands – then undreamt of disruptions will arise from immense coastal floods, storms of category six intensity and widespread famine when climate shifts become the norm. Mankind will have to adjust at a lower level of population and civilization than at present exists.
Consider this simple fact, pointed out at a Global Green Conference held in Sao Paulo a couple of years ago:
“If all use of fossil fuels and all deforestation globally were to end tomorrow, we would still be coping with destablised climate for at least a century due to what we have already emitted.
“But if greenhouse gas levels continue to rise, we could face ‘tipping point events’ – ‘points of no return’ that threaten levels of climate crisis to which we cannot adapt…
“There are three such tipping point events that are often discussed.
“1. The potential for the collapse of the Western Antarctic ice sheet. An extraordinary volume of 32 million cubic kilometers of ice is being destabilized with warmer water at its base.
“2. The Greenland ice sheet is also destabilizing and melting rapidly…
“3. The third is related. The threat of the Gulf Stream stalling is a major tipping point. It is impacted by increased fresh water from melting ice. That fresh water is depressing the Gulf Stream, which is now 30 per cent slower than 30 years ago.”
Thus global security is being steadily undermined on an immense scale. The US Department of Defense has researched “a plausible scenario for abrupt climate change.” They chose to study the stalling of the Gulf Stream. The study concluded that the impact – with colder temperatures in Europe and changing rainfall patterns causing deadly droughts, food insecurity and a huge increase in refugees – would be a greater threat than terrorism.
Addressing threats like these should already be the absolute priority of every government, certainly the government of every major rich and developed country. The central organizing principle of governments everywhere should be to take action to halt and reverse global warming. Look around and despair for your grandchildren: the organizing principles of governments around the world are certainly not geared to such concerns.
Indeed, reckless absurdity has recently found a foothold in the greatest country in the world with the President of the United States appointing to head the Environmental Protection Agency a man, Scott Pruitt, who does not believe the environment needs protecting from climate change. This is not a joke. This foolish man, put in charge of the chicken farm, says he doesn’t believe foxes present any danger to fowls. He does not believe man-made carbon emissions are a cause of global warning. He sets himself – and presumably the business interests who support him – against the whole world-wide scientific community.
Such craziness is not just fodder for comedians – it threatens the future of America and the world.