Are you ready for the change?
IPCC: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation
‘Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5% is beyond reach. – Adaptation and Vulnerability warns that climate change is causing dangerous disruption in nature and is affecting millions of people, stressing the urgency to act’.
In 2010-2019 average global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history.
I was recently catching up on 2021 issues of Scientific American notably the October and November issues. Both dealt with climate issues as the main story but present something of a broad picture of our impending doom.
In November they discuss Vapor Storms as a wetter world and more moisture in a warmer atmosphere is fueling intense hurricanes and flooding rains. Storms in Germany and China caused immense devastation in 2021. Ancient towns in Germany were destroyed. In Tennessee in August 17 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours. These were not hurricanes or tropical depressions but ‘mere’ storm clouds. Hurricane Ida in August leapt from Category 1 to 4 in 24 hours, wreaking havoc from Louisiana all the way to New York – a million people were left without power and 600,000 without water for days after. All this was caused by water vapor. It would seem, according to Woodwell Climate Research Center we are heading for a wetter world - not exactly as extreme as ‘Water World’ but one where flooding will be the norm and crops right around the world will be extremely vulnerable, as will millions of people.
In addition to more frequent storms, heat events in summer will make life intolerable at night in many cities across the globe and don’t think air conditioning will fix that because power outages will become frequently the norm. (See Texas and the lack of infrastructure and resilience there).
By contrast, the October edition of Scientific American was examining the extraordinary escalation of forest fires across the world and peat fires in Alaska and Siberia that can burn for years! These are zombie fires that seemingly die out in the winter snows but are still burning under the ice. Siberia and Alaska contain the thirty percent of the world’s Boreal forests are incredibly vulnerable to fire. As temperatures rise in Alaska and Canadian sub-Arctic temperatures have been recorded recently at 100F. Iceland is experiencing wildfire alerts. As the forest and peat fires increase, black ash falls on glaciers and snow melts are all that much faster. A feedback loop of disaster. The cause is hotter summers, warmer nights. The permafrost retreating is giving us longer fire seasons in the northern hemisphere as we have shorter snow seasons. The second cause of global warming is as more permafrost melts it releases vast quantities of methane that will eventually cause a even more rapid rise in global temperatures.
Indeed the end of snow is predicted – read the book ‘The Last Winter’ by Porter Fox – Little Brown 2021. As winters decrease and glaciers retreat and sea levels rise, millions will be forced to move to higher ground, but as discussed earlier, rising water vapor and lightning storms put forests at risk and ground water will become ever more scarce. Without snow the rivers will dry up and farming will become ever less viable and a population crash is inevitable. *See The Wind Up Girl by Paulo Bacigalupi for additional reading.
Porter Fox predicts there will be no Colorado River by 2050, which supplies water to 40 million people. *See
The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi for the political consequences of that. You may not want to move to Arizona after all.
Adapting to an accelerated climate change will cause starvation for many, intolerable living conditions in summers, drought punctuated by sudden floods for others and if we hit 2% global warming and above – the speed of the collapse will be catastrophic. Not just for growing food, but safely storing dwindling supplies. Political upheavals will occur as more and more as autocrats pretend to have ‘solutions’ that will only put food on their table, not yours. We are well on our way to 9 Billion people on this planet. It is not alarmist to question whether Earth can withstand this as each extra mouth makes more demands on natural resources.
The likelihood of finding the political will to stop global warming soon is unlikely to be found given that Putin has declared war on Ukraine. His determination to irradicate the Ukrainians has tripled the price of gas. It has made us all aware of the problem of heating our homes in Europe this coming autumn - this will put further pressure on trees being destroyed for heating and causes soil erosion. Ironically the effort by those who can afford to future proof their homes against freezing to death will only raise global temperatures even more as millions try to obtain heat pumps or solar panels. Someone has to make all this stuff – probably China. But make no mistake, China will not be the winner as global temperatures rise and rivers either flood or dry up. We are all on this planet together. We sink or swim together.
Still think it's a hoax?
© Sam Hawksmoor April 11th 2022
J&K 4Ever - A post-apocalypse love story
© Sam Hawksmoor 2022
Author of the Climate Change Sci-Fi novel Mission Longshot download or order the print version