Where were you when they told us the world as we know it is over?

eclipsenasaAccording to a leaked draft of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), the world as we know it is over.  The report presents substantial and well documented predictions of global suffering and massive social disruption resulting from the impact climate change on the water supply, food, and natural resources, and successively mounting human loss.  (Image 11/2013 eclipse)

Oddly enough, the recipient of the leak, the New York Times, acted like it was a story about the “food supply.”  In fact, the totality of the draft  makes it clear that we’ve gone too far for too long to avoid the dire consequences of man made climate change.

The documented risks presented include (Climate Change 2014:  Impacts, Adaptations, Vulnerability, IPCC, here or here, pp. 6 & 7): 

Food insecurity linked to warming, drought, and precipitation variability;

Death injury and disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones … due to sea level rise, coastal flooding and storm surges;

Severe harm for large urban populations due to inland flooding;

Systemic risk due to extreme events leading to break down of infrastructure networks and critical services;

Loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient drinking and irrigation water and lower agricultural productivity particularly in poorer regions; and,

Loss of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the services and livelihoods that they provide

What’s left?

Why are the IPCC estimates so important?

IPCC was formed by the United Nations Environment Programme and the  the World Meteorological Organization.  It operates as a consensus panel of scientists from around the world.  They assess and apply huge volumes of research on climate change.  By its structure, the requirement for consensus translates into mid range rather than leading edge analysis.

Leading scientists warned of a tipping point previously and developed scenarios more intense than offered by IPCC.

Since IPCC concludes that the impact on natural and social systems will be world changing, we can assume that the evidence is overwhelming and the conclusions largely unavoidable (as the draft shows).  The report anticipates criticism by noting that IPCC’s database is substantially larger than that of previous reports.

The Times headlined the IPCC leak with, Climate Change Seen Posing Risk to Food Supplies,  Nov 1 .  The food supply is one among many dire threats outlined in the report.  Food production will be flat or reduced by 2% every ten years through 2100 while the demand for food is projected to increase by 14% a decade until 2050.   Reduced food supply results from degradation of productive land and a lack of water to irrigate crops.  Those factors flow directly from increased average temperatures and extreme weather conditions.

The association between food deprivation and social instability has been demonstrated again and again in recent history.  Food riots are typically based on shortages due to price spikes, poor planning, or temporary crop shortages.

Imagine food riots in response to a permanent reduction in food production.

Further, imagine that there are no outside resources for relief.

The driving force behind the worldwide change comes from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to coal and oil based products.  Once in the atmosphere, the majority of CO2 lingers for 20 to 200 years with the remainder sticking around for hundreds of thousands of years.

Foregone conclusion?

The IPCC report is a matter of scientific consensus.  In as much as possible, the report mentions the likelihood of significant harm reduction as a result of a coordinated effort to reduce the rate of climate change and plan for the levels of disruption already written into the history of the remainder of the century.

The responsibility for the calamities awaiting us needs to be clearly assigned.  When you hear pundits talk about how we’re all responsible,  that represents a misinformed opinion or propaganda by the elites that enabled this most dismal future.

The failure to reach consensus until the apparent point of no return required deliberate denial of the facts as they emerged.  The climate change deniers who argue from no scientific basis other than the title of scientist somewhere receive vast support from those who have no desire to clean up cars, factories, toxic waste production, etc.  The media that claims that there are two sides to every issue are in the service of the financial and political elite that can only imagine a world with shrinking resources and wealth.  Through their lack of imagination, denial, and negligence, they’ve made their vision come true.

It’s their fault.



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Michael Collins

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  • A quarter of global agriculture is grown in water-stressed regions

    The tension between food and water will only intensify, according to a new report

    Deciding between food and water isn’t really a choice we’re able to make. But it’s a dilemma the world will increasingly face, according to a report released yesterday by the nonprofit World Resources Institute (WRI).

    More than 25 percent of the world’s agriculture is currently grown in highly water-stressed areas, according to the report. That includes half of irrigated cropland, which itself is responsible for 40 percent of the global food supply.

    Water stress is defined by the amount of water used in an area compared to its renewable supply. In highly water-stressed regions, 40 percent or more of the supply is used up annually. When that ratio gets up to 80 percent, it’s considered extreme.

    Via Truthdig: Climate Change to Cut Global Food Production, Increase Water Demand (On this study and the leaked IPCC one).

    • Thanks for adding that. This has all been out there for a good while. It has been obvious simce James Hansen testified before Congress all those years ago. Only the self-published science community and their lavish sponsors dissent and only here and the UK. It is time to act.

      The XL Pipeline decision now becomes a litmus test for rationality. If Obama nixes it, great. Let’s see what he does next. If he approves it, we’re in a whole new ball game or as the Nixon character said in the Stone film (when Watergate was ramping up): “We’re through the looking glass Bob.”

  • I’ve been saying for quite some time now that climate change was going to be a lot more than ‘just-like-today-only-warmer’, which seems to be a fairly common attitude among those who are only grudgingly admitting it’s happening at all. The 10 or 20 million peasants who starved under Stalin or Mao will be nothing compared to what coming down the pike.

    I really believe hundreds of millions of people are going to die in what will be a ‘perfect storm’ of catastrophe: extreme weather events; crop failures; rising prices; past-peak oil; resource wars; water scarcity; water pollution; political unrest; failed states making damage prevention, relief & mitigation difficult or impossible; prime conditions for rampant disease; antibiotics losing effectiveness (superbugs)…

    The West has built an unsustainable lifestyle, pillaging the entire world to support its addiction. It’s call the Myth of Progress, and like all myths it is a based on a misinterpretation of specific circumstance which invited the Wishful Thinking we call the American Dream. Karma time, kiddies.

    Taking the long view, my great-great-great-grandchildren probably won’t have to worry about the NSA & DHA etc and a police state. There won’t be enough of the world’s resources available to support such a state. Life is going to be much more ‘primitive’, basic and probably brutal.

    All we can do now is try to mitigate the worst of it in the near term and develop an understanding of the situation and put in place the basic mindset for a sustainable culture, such that those who do come out the other side of this mess can prevent it from happening again.

    • We’ll be lucky if our great grandchildren are around but survival may not be considered lucky by that point … unless we proceed as though our future depends on it.

      There’s a great deal to be done to mitigate future damage and correct future harm. A major problem is the 1/2 life of CO2 in the atmosphere. There isn’t room for much more. Another problem is that particle pollution is delaying the full impact of global warming by reflecting sunlight. If we fix that, which is desirable from a basic health standpoint, we’re going to heat things up a good bit according to James Hansen.

      • Guy McPherson has been wringing the bell long and hard on this subject.

        Passing the tipping point entails other natural phenomena, like the release of methane (from methane hydrates) under sea ice, 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2.

        Of course a major volcanic eruption or an asteroid strike changes the entire equation–absent that, according to his data the timeline is much shorter than great-great-grand children.

        No one should fly. No one, no how. And we should all severely reduce the miles we drive in cars. But, we won’t do these things until they are forced upon us (not even Guy).

      • There are many, many things we can do, both individually and as a society. The two (connected) things that are holding us back, I think, are the challenge of thinking in a whole new way as well as a denial industry discouraging us from making that leap.

        Alternative energy like wind and solar does not have to be centralized. Both forms are viable now and available to people who live in places appropriate for them.

        A NASA scientist found that if everyone painted their roof white, that would save energy use (meaning less CO2 going into the atmosphere) by keeping the house cooler. It would also reflect solar energy back into space, rather than absorb it as our black roofs do. This could catch on if both builders and buyers are aware of the issue.

        But you still have to protect yourself from what, by now, can’t be stopped. Don’t buy property at a low elevation or in a flood plain. Try to ensure for yourself a source of food that is not from the big system. Maybe start a vegetable garden.

  • I was doing doughnuts on freshly shorn lawn on the back 40 of a cemetery 277 miles away from home with a pocket full of wadded up 100’s and a 6.2L V8 screaming for more. I knew she was thirsty and that’s why my pocket was full of wadded up 100’s. I didn’t know how many doughnuts I could possibly do or why I even existed. All I knew was that I didn’t take to kindly to the news.

    • Outstanding! Finally, someone answers the question. You get the End Times Agonista of the Month award!!!

      Think about this. If Franklin had been one of our presidents, we wouldn’t have the problems we had to day. Your doughnuts with his images wadded up in your pocket was an homage to lost opportunity; in this case, the opportunity to survive.

  • Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

    …The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    h/t William Butler Yeats

  • I have been waiting to comment on this post until I had some time to think about it. I was sitting in my favorite chair in our family room reading Thom Hartmann’s “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight“, when I realized our collective gooses were cooked, so to speak, with regard to climate change. Everyone should read it. It really explains how fossil fuels were formed and how the exploitation of those fuels are inevitably going to put back into the atmosphere, all the carbon that was taken out by biological activity over millions of year. It is simple physics – energy is neither created nor destroyed, except inside stars. So, we cannot liberate the energy stored in ancient hydrocarbons without restoring the same hot and oxygen-depleted environment when those biologics were created.

    • Pausing to reflect is always good. Hartmann does a very good job across the board. I’ll read that one on your recommendation. I’m surprised that there aren’t a bunch of articles out there with the same points I’ve drawn from ICPP. The draft is the first concrete acknowledgment frm an official global body that our goose is cooked, as you termed it.

  • […] for caution in the past.  However, a leaked version of IPCC’s upcoming report offered dire predictions for the rest of the century.  Food shortages, frequent extreme weather events, urban flooding due […]

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