I’ve been telling you for years and years that our warming planet was headed for consequences much greater than was being predicted by main stream scientists and reported by the main stream media.  I warned that consequences would happen faster and with more impact than most people were willing to say to the public.  But as I’ve delineated in the last few posts, climate  disruption is here now.  And without drastic measures immediately, and a lot of help from as of now, unproven technology, we’re in for a very rough future and much sooner than previously thought.  

Increasingly, you’re going to be seeing articles like the following one about scientific reports that are being completed and published that paint a very bleak future.  As the climate crisis takes on greater momentum there are bound to be an increasing number of reports like the one below  warning of disaster .

Unlike I usually do, I am only going to give you one highlight from the article here and urge you to read the whole thing.  

If this doesn’t wake you up I don’t know what will.  

 

“In short: we’re using the expectations of what the climate has been like over the last few hundred years as our basis for predictions. But we’re not in the climate. Or the one that came before that. Or the one that came before that. We’re in a new place, and skidding rapidly toward a “point of no return” that could come as soon as 2050. Within 30 years, the climate crisis could lead to a “the breakdown of nations and the international order” as the radically altered system tumbles toward “an uninhabitable Earth.”…

The Breakthrough numbers point to a 3° C rise already locked into the system we’ve created. That’s enough to generate a series of “amplifying feedbacks” that bring on more expansive damage. That’s billions of people on the move because of failing water systems, collapsing agriculture, and expanding resource wars. That’s a crisis greater than anything humanity has faced, including the Black Death. And that’s the small end of what the analysis suggests.”

 

THOREAU, NEW MEXICO - JUNE 06: A dried out lake stands near the Navajo Nation town of Thoreau on June 06, 2019 in Thoreau, New Mexico. Due to disputed water rights and other factors, up to 40 percent of Navajo Nation households don’t have clean running water and are forced to rely on weekly and daily visits to water pumps. The problem for the Navajo Nation, a population of over 200,000 and the largest federally-recognized sovereign tribe in the U.S., is so significant that generations of families have never experienced indoor plumbing. Rising temperatures associated with global warming have worsened drought conditions on their lands over recent decades. The reservation consists of a 27,000-square-mile area of desert and high plains in New Mexico, southern Utah and Arizona. The Navajo Water Project, a nonprofit from the water advocacy group Dig Deep, has been working on Navajo lands in New Mexico since 2013 funding a mobile water delivery truck and digging and installing water tanks to individual homes. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
JUNE 06, 2019: A dried out lake near the Navajo Nation town of Thoreau. Rising temperatures have worsened drought conditions across the Nation 27,000-square-mile nation.

The climate crisis is an existential threat. But … existential to what? Our nation? Human civilization as a whole? Our species? Life on Earth? A new study suggests that the answer might be yes, yes ,yes, and maybe yes.

To see what a runaway greenhouse effect looks like, humans need only check right next door. A visitor to the Solar System just over a billion years ago would have found two worlds with deep oceans of liquid water and conditions that seemed “habitable.” Mars would have already have lost its relatively short-lived oceans long before, but that visitor might have been hard-pressed to say whether Venus or Earth looked like the better long-term prospect for life.

When we look across to Earth’s evil twin today, our nearest neighbor in space seems singularly hostile to life. With temperatures hot enough to melt lead, a crushing atmosphere generating pressures equivalent to half a mile of ocean, and a forecast calling for sulfuric acid rain, Venus is no one’s idea of a vacation spot. Though the root cause of this catastrophe is unclear, the reason for Venus’ transformation is most definitely a greenhouse effect run amok. But … is this also where Earth is going?

It’s easy enough to see one end of the climate crisis, because it’s where we are today. Increasing levels of extreme weather events are bringing record hurricanes, record floods, record fires, record droughts, and record costs to the economy. It’s generating climate refugees not just on some distant island, but in flooded towns and along damaged coasts right here in the United States. It’s also contributing significantly to immigration issues as the same extreme weather disrupts economies already under stress. 

But a paper published last month by Australia’s Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration sets the probability for the effects of the climate crisis way beyond flooded fields and failing fisheries. That analysis indicates that it is a “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” not in some distant future, not even by the end of the century, but within the next 30 years.

In the last few decades, human beings entered a climate situation like none experienced since the dawn of agriculture in the Middle East. In the last few years, we exited the realm of climate as it has been known since our species first wandered out of Africa. And in the last few months, soaring levels of CO2, including sharp increases during 2018, have taken the world into a situation that hasn’t existed since long before our species appeared. While such levels have existed on Earth before, the only times the planet has previously experienced such a massive change in atmospheric chemistry have been associated with the most severe extinction events. And even then, every indication is that the change happened much more gradually.

The Breakthrough report argues that scientists and politicians have consistently underestimated the effects of climate change, and that the media has consistently played into a narrative that things are going to be bad, but not that bad. Instead, suggests the analysis, “extremely serious outcomes” are far more probable than has been generally reported. And because we are in a climate regime outside all human experience, we’re likely to keep making bad assumptions even as the system spirals toward catastrophe.

In short: we’re using the expectations of what the climate has been like over the last few hundred years as our basis for predictions. But we’re not in the climate. Or the one that came before that. Or the one that came before that. We’re in a new place, and skidding rapidly toward a “point of no return” that could come as soon as 2050. Within 30 years, the climate crisis could lead to a “the breakdown of nations and the international order” as the radically altered system tumbles toward “an uninhabitable Earth.”

As a 2018 study conducted at the request of the Australian Senate explained, the climate crisis “threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent and drastic destruction of its potential for desirable future development.” That’s existential not just in the sense that it’s disruptive of economics or politics, existential not just in the sense that it brings about the downfall of nation states, existential not just in the sense that it spells ruin for the ten-thousand year run of human civilization, existential not just in the sense that it describes the loss of an ecology that includes the human species, but existential in the sense that it leaves behind a planet unsuitable for any intelligent species to rise again.

That existential.

The Breakthrough numbers point to a 3° C rise already locked into the system we’ve created. That’s enough to generate a series of “amplifying feedbacks” that bring on more expansive damage. That’s billions of people on the move because of failing water systems, collapsing agriculture, and expanding resource wars. That’s a crisis greater than anything humanity has faced, including the Black Death. And that’s the small end of what the analysis suggests.

It’s easy to be dismissive of a report this severe. After all, dolphins may be stacked along our beaches, and every day may bring a forecast that includes the words “record” and “unprecedented,” but bodies aren’t piled along our streets. Surely it cannot get this bad, this quickly. And sure enough, there have been plenty of people speaking up, even within the environmental community, to call the Breakthrough report “extreme.”

However, the authors of the report include Ian Dunlop, a former executive with Royal Dutch Shell petroleum and the past chair of the Australian Coal Association. As an industry insider, Dunlop was privy to the ways in which fossil fuel interests have invested in disinformation, convincing both politicians and the public that things are not as bad as they seem.

As someone who for more than three decades worked in an office where people were directly dedicated to crafting false narratives about the benefits of carbon dioxide, planting doubt concerning the motivations of scientists warning of global warming, and investing millions in making everyone believe that the climate crisis did not exist … I agree with Dunlop. The fossil fuel industry has by this point spent hundreds of millions spreading the message that the climate crisis doesn’t exist, or if it does, it’s not our fault, and if it is, it’s not that bad. That message permeates everything. It’s unavoidable. 

The softening impact of the message from the fossil fuel industry is compounded by the natural tendency, especially in government in the media, to compare current situations with the past. But this situation isn’t comparable. It hasn’t happened before. It is genuinely unprecedented. However bad you think it’s going to be, odds are you aren’t thinking bad enough.

The Breakthrough report insists that there is still time for a “World War II level” effort, one that can use the  “short window of opportunity” that still exists for an “emergency, global mobilization of resources.” But that action will take not just visionary leadership, but a program of education that makes people realize that fighting the climate crisis is not the same as fighting Nazism in World War II. It’s much more vital.

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