Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pack Up Your Bags - The Weather's Coming. Word Is Canada is Still Nice This Time of Year.

As the world transitions into a new and dangerous climate state, no nation is going to be immune to extreme weather event disasters.  That's the conclusion of the latest IPCC report.

"One of the striking things, when you look at the report, is that there is disaster risk almost everywhere," said Christopher Field, a Stanford University professor who led the IPCC's working group on climate change impacts. "A focus on disaster risk and a focus on reducing disaster risk should be a priority in every country in every region."

That includes the United States, which suffered $55 billion in disaster-related damage last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That includes 14 extreme weather events that each caused more than $1 billion of damage.

Those changes include "substantial warming" through the end of the century, with longer, stronger and more frequent heat waves over most of the Earth's land area, more frequent heavy rainfall events, and more intense and longer droughts in large swaths of Europe and Africa.

Some of the shifts are already evident, the report says, including an overall dip in the number of cold days and nights and a rising number of warm days and nights since the middle of the last century.

But the effects of those changes are influenced by different communities' ability to adapt, said IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri.
Some areas may be rendered uninhabitable by changing patterns of extreme weather, says the new report, which identifies small island states and large coastal cities threatened by sea level rise as likely examples.

"As we look toward the future, probably the most difficult decisions are going to involve whether there should be a large-scale migration or mobilization of communities," Field said. "The decision about whether or not to move is achingly difficult, and I think it's one the world community is going to have face with increasing frequency in the future."

Over at, Christopher Mims has this advice for his fellow Americans - move to Canada.

If you like cool weather and not having to club your neighbors as you battle for scarce resources, now’s the time to move to Canada, because the story of the 21st century is almost written, reports Reuters. Global warming is close to being irreversible, and in some cases that ship has already sailed.

Here’s what happens next: Natural climate feedbacks will take over and, on top of our prodigious human-caused carbon emissions, send us over an irreversible tipping point. By 2100, the planet will be hotter than it’s been since the time of the dinosaurs, and everyone who lives in red states will pretty much get the apocalypse they’ve been hoping for. The subtropics will expand northward, the bottom half of the U.S. will turn into an inhospitable desert, and everyone who lives there will be drinking recycled pee and struggling to salvage something from an economy wrecked by the destruction of agriculture, industry, and electrical power production.

Water shortages, rapidly rising seas, superstorms swamping hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure: It’s all a-coming, and anyone who is aware of the political realities knows that the odds are slim that our government will move in time to do anything to avert the biggest and most avoidable disaster short of all-out nuclear war.


Carmichael said...

All over the world the political right is in ascendancy.

Why do you think that is?

People are getting more confused and frightened, that's why.

And never have they turned to social democratic or liberal governments when that occurs.

They want to be protected.

And coming down the pipe is lots to be frightened of and lots to be protected from.

I'm not a fan of Harper or the conservative movement and I think I've proved that over the years. And I don't like that what I just articulated is true and is happening.

But a thing is what it is.

We all need to lengthen and broaden our perspectives and opinions.

The world is NOT going to return to an unwarmed state.

It is also not going to return to a non-frightened, unconfused state.

The world will continue to move rightward and there will be increasing resistance to any ideas of moving back left.


The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not sure I agree Carmichael. As we're seeing in Greece, new and powerful forces are on the rise, far left and far right. For several years there have been those predicting the 21st will be the century of revolution. The Arab Spring may have been just the tip of the iceberg in the Middle East, something that will spread to other regions.

Unlike previous dark periods what is to come may have a unique generational dimension to it, pitting young against old. Yes the old can be expected to seek the shelter of authoritarian establishment parties but the young will see them, and their patrons, as their natural enemy. And, when it comes to revolutions, the young hold all the aces.

I have no doubt that disaster capitalism will be employed against the young possibly, for a good while, somewhat successfully but I think it will fail horribly in short order.

Consider that, having already reached the limits of our very finite biosphere, we are going to have to abandon 18th century capitalism, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geopolitics, models that are all rapidly losing their utility. What can the right do, reinstate feudalism?

My hunch is that none of us can predict what is coming. We're in utterly uncharted waters for which the right holds no answers, no solutions.

Or perhaps Gwynne Dyer is right. Long before we get around to debating these questions we'll consume ourselves through war.

Carmichael said...

After I posted my original comment I realized I had been somewhat imprecise. I nearly did another post but decided to wait and see if anyone responded.

What I realized was that I should have said people will turn to authoritarian governments. Irrespective of wing. Of course today there really isn't much of a left anymore. As the rightward migration progressed it dragged even the left along with it so that what is now called left would once have been called centrist.

The Arab Spring is already being overwhelmed by various manifestations of islam. Not all are radical but then neither are all manifestations of xtianity. Its just that the ones clamoring for political power, in both religions, are all radical.

Greece is not going to be the beginning of anything I'm afraid. The people of Greece have a long hard slog ahead of them just to "put food on their families".

I take your point about not knowing what's coming and being in uncharted waters.

Which countries will be opening their borders with open arms to climate refugees? Which countries will be easily sharing their sources of fresh water? Which countries will willingly share their food?

The waters may be uncharted but the character of the navigators remains the same. And while we may not be able to know what's coming we can know with certainty what the prelude has been.


The Mound of Sound said...

Which countries are opening their borders? Very few. There'll be some accommodation in the South/Central Pacific and Indian Ocean for island peoples displaced by sea level rise but they're fairly small scale.

The first regions to face uninhabitable stresses will be equatorial and tropical. In the southern hemisphere migration will be mainly south. In the northern hemisphere, mainly north. Africa seems to be an exception where climate migration is already headed to Europe.

The US military and their British counterparts already foresee the need to defend their nations' borders against migration.

It seems inconceivable that the US would turn on hapless refugees but consider that coastal regions and particularly the southern US will give America its own IDP or 'internally-displaced person' problem. These are situations ordinarily experienced only in war zones.

Don't read too much into the Arab Spring. That's really only a year old and revolutions can spasm along for a decade or two before stability sets back in. Also bear in mind that these revolts were sparked by a host of problems and discontents which remain unresolved. Food and water insecurity issues persist and, for the youth, inequality of opportunity, wealth and employment.

That Islamist movements have been the first to rise to power is to have been expected. While we were supporting their former, oppressive regimes, it was the Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, who alone resisted Mubarak. It's almost inconceivable they wouldn't come to power.

Some, like Gwynne Dyer, have long predicted Islamist movements would bring democracy to the ME and remain in power for a decade or so before yielding to more secular government.

And, bear in mind, how long it took us to get from Magna Carta to universal suffrage. How long has it been since Canadian women got the vote? How long has it been since landowning was not a precondition to eligibility to vote? Our own path to democracy has spanned many centuries and witnessed its own reversals. It's unrealistic to expect instant, secular, Western democracy to flourish in the M.E., especially in this troubled century.

Carmichael said...

One of the effects of what the planet is facing over the next couple of centuries is that there's not going to be much of a time lag between the recognition of a problem and the sudden death deadline for the implementation of some kind of action to combat the problem.

And there's certainly not going to be any time at all for another 300 years of political evolution.

Once people's fears really take hold there's not going to be time or tolerance for drawn out talking festivals either.

I don't generally ask questions such as the ones I did earlier because I want to get answers. I don't believe enough serious minded people are thinking about these things. And other things as well.

We know our main crops aren't very drought and heat tolerant. What crops can we grow that are? How can we store water so as not to lose it to evaporation? If we start drawing water from the oceans and desalinizing what happens to the remaining salinity levels?

Denial has caused humanity to ignore the warming but can denial cause humanity to simply not prepare?

I expect that is the case. I think Lovelock has it exactly right.

Anonymous said...

Good job!

The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting points, C. The UN FAO is making progress on drought-resistant crops and agricultural practices. How effective they will be remains unknown.

Water storage is difficult but the greater problem is the spread of cyclical droughts and floods of the type that Australia has endured the past decade. A similar situation occurred in the Sahel where herders lost their cattle, already weakened by drought, when caught by sudden deluges.

Desalination is a troubled process. Yes it produces freshwater but it leaves behind an intense brine replete with heavy metals and chemicals that can be lethal to coastal fisheries on disposal. Given that these fisheries represent the key source of protein for the poorest 70% of mankind that's an enormous problem.

Can denial cause humanity to simply not prepare. You might want to ask a Mayan or a Pueblo Indian or an Easter Islander. Actually they weren't in denial. They knew what was happening but they were not willing to change, except for the Pueblo who migrated.

In weighing these questions it's helpful to have read Jared Diamond's "Collapse." It really puts global warming/climate change in perspective as but one of several potentially existential challenges facing humanity this century which must all be resolved if we're to solve any of them.

Everything from global warming to overpopulation, resource depletion and exhaustion, species depletion and extinction, the freshwater crisis, over consumption, disease and pest migration, air/soil and water contamination/pollution, deforestation and desertification and a host of global security threats including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, food insecurity and population migration.

That's not an exhaustive list but what's important to take from it is to realize the common thread that runs through each of those challenges. That's the key to solving them and the one thing that, if we refuse, renders them all uncontrollable.

C, you're obviously pretty bright. Go through that list and identify the common thread. For what it's worth, you won't find the rightwing accepting it.

Carmichael said...

Hey MOS, I just looked at your profile.

email me would you please.

I have a query about Parksville and expected sea level rise over the next 25 years or so.

Retirement looms and Parksville area is choice # 1.

Anonymous said...

Dah-dah,di-dah dah, dah, dah!!

mothers day gift baskets said...

Global warming is definitely troubling. We didn't get any snow at all this year