Monday, February 25, 2019

Climate Change Consensus Hits "Gold Standard"

This must have caused a couple of hard swallows at The Globe & Mail. "Evidence global warming is man-made hits 'gold standard.'

Well, duh.
Evidence for man-made global warming has reached a “gold standard” level of certainty, adding pressure for cuts in greenhouse gases to limit rising temperatures, scientists said on Monday. 
“Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,” the U.S.-led team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change of satellite measurements of rising temperatures over the past 40 years. 
They said confidence that human activities were raising the heat at the Earth’s surface had reached a “five-sigma” level, a statistical gauge meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the signal would appear if there was no warming. 
Such a “gold standard” was applied in 2012, for instance, to confirm the discovery of the Higgs boson subatomic particle, a basic building block of the universe.
...Mainstream scientists say the burning of fossil fuels is causing more floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.
And not a bit of this will register on the policies of the petro-state be it in the hands of Liberals or Conservatives. That is the measure of how sordid, how perverse political leadership in Canada has become.

Floods, droughts, and heat waves are already killing people, mainly in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. There is a clear link between climate change impacts and war, including war of subsistence, war of survival. Research has found links between the ravages of climate change and the spread of terrorism. Hey, those people know it is the developed world, the industrialized nations that were instrumental in their suffering, dislocation, even death. Why wouldn't some of them want a little payback?
...violations of subsistence rights (to the material resources we need to lead a minimally decent life) provide victims with a just cause for war, partly because severe mass poverty undermines collective interests in collective self-determination, but also on the deeper grounds that threats to one's life, of which starvation is one, warrant defensive killing. The claim holds not merely when the rights violations take the form of a wrongful action, but also (more controversially) when they take the form of a wrongful omission. Having thus expanded on the account of just causes for war offered in Chapter 2, Chapter 3 makes a first foray into the issue of legitimate authority, and argues that the right to wage a subsistence war is held not merely by states whose populations suffer unjustly from severe poverty and which are not themselves responsible for that predicament, but also (controversially) by responsible states as well as by victims themselves. The chapter ends with an account of the grounds upon which individual affluent members of affluent communities who are derelict in their duty to the very poor are legitimate targets in war. It argues that some of those members are not protected by the principle of non-combatant immunity.
We, who already live in prosperity, ease and comfort, pursue an expansive energy policy to flood world markets with toxic, high-carbon bitumen with a now conclusive awareness of what that will do to the planet, how it will threaten others' basic subsistence. There may be consequences that attach to that, even if we only look the other way. You may become a legitimate target in a war of subsistence the Fossil Fuelers have caused. Your right to claim non-combatant immunity may be nullified.


Toby said...

You keep saying "we." The problem isn't we; it's a relative few who profit greatly by ignoring science and who don't care a fig about what we think or the common weal.

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not sure the masses who are on the receiving end of these destructive policies will be interested in your distinctions, Toby.

For about the past six years, as we watched the climate change problem harden, I became interested in warfare in the 21st century. Most of us were raised with the reality of the Westphalian nation state and state monopoly on violence, etc. Much of that has gone out of vogue.

Today wars are fought by a multiplicity of parties of different strata and pursuing different objectives. Likewise, destructive weaponry has devolved upon lesser actors. This has led to a rethinking of the nature of war, the laws of war and even its ethics.

The old order remains relevant but it's exclusivity - i.e. the monopoly on violence - has been lost. The whole notion of "just wars" with its theological underpinning has been shaken.

The paragraph I quoted is from a review of Farbre's "Cosmopolitan War" - a study of morality and ethics in warfare in the 21st century. It sounded interesting enough that I went ahead and ordered a copy. The book, apparently, addresses "just war" in the context of asymmetric warfare, civil war and other non-state parties.