Friday, 7 December 2007

Global Warming - Go To Sleep Everyone...

Does anyone else have the feeling we're just fiddling as Rome burns?

It's already too late, guys. Those of us debating here on CiF are the tiny, tiny minority of the planetary population who even think this thing is worth talking about. Most people don't give a damn - and half of those that do are so damn terrified they just stick their fingers in their ears and sing LA-LA-LA over and over again.

There is no "solution" which we have an earthly chance of getting in place in time. We can talk about them, but it's all just hot air (pun not intended), and the climate will continue to change as it already is. Food prices are already rocketing in this part of the world from the dismal harvest this year, caused by no winter, no summer, and now - 7 months of almost constant rain and counting. It's 15 degrees C in the middle of winter, the fields are full of weeds and the bugs ain't dying...

Governments are already in crisis management. The other day here in France the national TV station's weather report said the half year rain was great for the planet cos we need loads of water, and we shouldn't worry about the unseasonably warm temperatures cos it means we don't have to use our heating as much - and that is good for the planet. You have to grin - it keeps everybody's spirits up.

The simple fact is, if things continue the global climate is going to change in completely unpredictable ways. It's no good saying "hey, I live in Europe / North America / whatever so it's just going to get warmer / wetter / nicer and I'll be fine". No one knows how individual areas will be affected - it's effectively a complete lottery. The atlantic conveyor could shut down and Europe freeze; rain and sea level rises could turn your home into a swamp; drought and warming could make your country into a desert. We're just going to have to wait and see.

The one thing that appears certain is that we're heading for a period of tremendous uncertainty. That means instability. Which means violence, whether in the form of hugely restrictied civil liberties as governments struggle to cope with famine, disease, flood, whatever; or violence in the form of forced migrations, invasions, wars, the usual shebang.

Eventually, when things settled down again, and millions or billions of people have died, the human race will find those parts of the planet which are conducive to our survival. Who knows where they will be... could be more or less anywhere.

The main problem with all these shenanigans is the speed at which they're going to happen. They've already started, although we in the West have been largely insulated from them in our cosseted free speech zones, up till now at least. And they're going to get significantly worse in our lifetimes. On the plus side, as the effects of climate change kick in, it's likely to impact our ability to cause continued damage - cities will be flooded, countries will dry out or depopulate, populations will die - and our "carbon footprint" will dwindle quite nicely.

On a mathematical level, it's all very neat, really. Things will balance out. It's the human story behind the narrative where it's going to be shocking. At some point, this rather unpredictable game of Russian Roulette is going to require we all put the gun to our heads and see if we win or lose - the best we can do is to keep as aware and adaptable as possible to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Of course I could be talking bollocks. I really hope I am, actually, but having read the evidence, looked around me, and studied human history and our traditional response to large-scale problems, I'm not hopeful. The best response right now is to join the chorus of head-in-the-sand naysayers and scream "it's never gonna happen..."

Who knows, if we all shout loud enough, maybe whatever God is up there will take notice and have mercy... You never know...

Now where did I put that violin? ;-)

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