My belief that climate change was real has evolved significantly recently in spite of the widening battle line that exist between the believers and the non-believers. If dramatic weather pattern shifts and severe weather occurrences are not enough to raise a flag of alarm, then maybe the alarm will become more credible as more credible organizations begin to endorse mitigation and adaptation strategies to manage our planet’s dynamic weather oscillations.
There are a litany of recent events that suggest that extreme weather is growing in both its frequency of occurrence and intensity. Choose your country and choose your weather event and it will seem to be the same repetitious pattern.
Why, then, am I suggesting that suddenly climate change is real? What has tipped the scale of credibility? In my mind, it is no longer a question of hard, empirical evidence that can supported by sophisticated climate tracking and modelling data. It has become an even simpler process. Just look around for visual evidence. I do not need to count the number of tornadoes that have pummeled much of the Central United States. It is not necessary to share thoughts about the flood damage throughout Europe and the US and Asia from torrential rains. Nor is it necessary to identify how many maximum temperature records have been broken around the world. I am certain these new highs will be surpassed this year by new winners!
There was, however, one recent article which helped me better appreciate the growing reality of climate change – far beyond the implications of the events cited above. The article, appearing in the WashingtonPost had a typical, ominous heading: Climate Change Threatens Trouble in the Near Future, World Bank says. The World Bank specializes in development projects to help poorer countries.
“The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world.”
It was what appeared in the opening segment of the article that raised the credibility of climate change.
“The World Bank is beginning to commit billions of dollars to flood prevention, water management and other projects to help major Asian cities avoid the expected impact of climate change, a dramatic example of how short the horizon has become to alleviate the effects of global warming.”
In a press conference in early June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City insisted that the impact from future Hurricane Sandys could be even more devastating to the city. Bloomberg Outlines $20 Billion Storm Protection Plan is his strategy to meet these impending threats.
“Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg outlined a far-reaching plan on Tuesday to protect New York City from the threat of rising sea levels and powerful storm surges by building an extensive network of flood walls, levees and bulkheads along its 520 miles of coast. “
In previous posts, I have discussed the reason for our success as a civilization – climate stability. The very grains that comprise the foundation of the human diet – corn, rice, wheat, must have consistent temperature and rainfall patterns to ensure germination. It is the present day threat to this stability that is the direct impact of rising global temperatures.
“In Africa, areas relied on for corn and other crops may become too arid to farm, and grazing lands could wither. Bank officials said they are hopeful that advances in crop science and genetics by then will have produced drought-resistant varieties of corn and other plants adaptable to the emerging environment.”
Mankind has been accustomed to solving complex problems with technological innovation. I believe that we are reaching a point where we will no longer be able to engineer our way out of problems threatening our very existence. We are reaching a point – and may perhaps be too late, where we must change our attitudes and behaviors that directly contribute to these environmental threats.
The challenge we face is no different than the traditional economic balance between spending for “guns” or “butter”. If we spend more for weapons, there is less to be spent on food. The challenges posed by climate change are equally clear and simple.
“Nations [will need to make strategic decisions between devoting] resources to recovering from storms and natural disasters instead of investing in health, education and other services that could boost their societies.”
The article - Climate Change Threatens Trouble in the Near Future – has important details to understand. This is no longer just the tip of the iceberg because the iceberg is melting away fast and we will not need to worry about lies deep beneath.