The book we’ve just finished reading is titled, Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats by Gwynne Dyer, 2008, 2010 Oneworld Publications ISBN: 978-1-85168-814-2

This was most somber reading. The book has some future scenarios which explain how we will have gotten to some situation, and then explains the results of that. It goes from bad scenarios, to worse scenarios, to awful scenarios, to extinction-level scenarios. It writes in a future historical way, explaining how we got to some situation. This is certainly not bedtime reading – that is, unless you’re a cynic like I am, and live your everyday life knowing that global destruction is a certainty. It talks of global warming. The book talks about CO2 parts per million – that we began to get concerned when it reached 350 ppm, on the way to 400 ppm, then 450, and it will probably reach 500 ppm. Global warming at 2C degrees would have an impact, but would be surmountable. Global warming at 5C degrees would be devastating. The author even goes into a scenario of 9C degree increase over time, which really would cause a global extinction – the end of life on earth as we know it.

By about 2030 – or 18 years from now – is when this problem looks to become crisis level. However, the crisis may begin in months – or even weeks – from this writing in August 2012.

This is especially troublesome because as the polar regions melt, CO2 will be released from ancient ice and sea floors which have been frozen for millennia.

Moreover, what can be done about it? It is technically feasible to reduce our use of fossil fuels drastically, and even continue to run our lights, our heaters, and our cars. There are a lot of “feel good” ways this can be done – everything from riding your bike, driving less, turning down the heater, and using alternative fuels such as ethanol. These will likely have little effect. It will take implementing some already proven technologies, including the use of algae as fuel, and generating electricity from waves as well as wind. It will take some reforestation, and a change in dietary habits – which will certainly be unpopular. As things stand, with the US having pulled out of the Kyoto treaty, emerging economies including China, India, and Brazil having been exempt from it, and global politics being what they are, it seems unlikely that emissions will be brought down in time to not cause drastic problems. These problems include the tropical regions and the lower latitudes of the temperate region to no longer be suitable for growing crops, and large migrations of refugees from the areas near the equator to the higher latitudes will likely happen – and many will find borders closed to them, leaving them to starve.

Farming methods may need to change, for instance, crops may be planted earlier than they have been historically, and but they will have a short growing season as they’ll need to harvest them before it gets too hot and they die off. They’ll be able to plant a second crop after the heat of summer cools down, but it will need to be harvested before freeze. Long-season crops may not be possible to grow, or only in a few regions of earth. Crop failures will become commonplace.

This will take some cooperation of all of the nations of the world – and the wealthier nations helping the poorer nations to industrialize in a way that creates less greenhouse gases. If we fail to help these poorer nations – and they will industrialize using what they have – meaning fossil fuels, the same way the industrialized nations started, they too will contribute to this problem that has come into being since the early 1800s – the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, national economics, global economics, nor international cooperation seem likely to turn this necessity into reality. The question is will this situation change so as to turn it around before it is too late? In short, the situation will almost surely become much worse before it gets better. Even if the problem is ended today, inertia will keep the heat increasing for awhile. I doubt that the problem will be addressed effectively at all until the obvious situation becomes critical – and then it is far too late.

Part of the effect of global warming is changing of the air currents, and rainfall, leading to droughts or desertification in some areas which may be farmlands now, and at the same time lead to torrential rains in other areas, as well as intensified tropical storms – leading to more torrential rain in some affected areas. Some areas, including parts of northern Canada and northern Russia, will benefit from global warming for their growing seasons – at least temporarily.

The worst is if it gets warm enough, and ocean currents stop circulating as they have been, leaving large areas of sea floors without oxygen – causing the anaerobic bacteria on sea floors to flourish, and burp out hydrogen sulfate, which is a deadly gas. This situation is called a “Canfield Ocean“, and is now believed to be the cause of how previous cycles of global warming led to mass extinction events. After all, if it was just that the area a life form lived in had gotten too warm, it would seem that animals would migrate, and seeds would be blown or otherwise carried into a better environment for them. It’s not a problem of the climate in a given area becoming warmer, but rather the problem of the planetary climate system going amok when temperatures get out of its narrow range. It is this situation which are believed to have caused all of the extinction level events, with the sole exception of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) event of 65 million years ago, now believed to have been caused by a meteor strike near the Yukatan which killed the dinosaurs. Will it happen again in about another 150 years or so? The Black Sea has had this phenomenon occurring for many years simply because it does not have water circulation. Dead zones in the oceans, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific, and the Atlantic are documented by NASA. NASA’s article blames fertilizer run-off for the dead zones. These are another cause of an anoxic, or non-oxygenated water near the floor of the sea. Ocean currents stopping their flow will make the problem much much bigger.

There are some mentions of some untried, unproven, or even uninvented technologies which could be used to stave this off. The question is are we going to get started immediately, or in the next few years, on some of the proven technologies? I don’t believe this is the time to be placing all of our hopes on some airy-fairy, hopes of future generations’ inventions. We’ve failed to start using the proven technologies, which we could have and needed to put into use during the 1980s, but the political and economic powers that existed then did not see a problem. A large number of people still do not see a problem. Time is rapidly running out, and we can no longer wait for new technologies to be invented or developed.

That does seem to be changing. In August, 2012, MarketWatch, from the Wall Street Journal, not a publication known for its sensationalism but respected for its financial perspectives says in their article WWIII: Great commodities war to end all wars?:

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, WWIII: The Great Commodities War to End All Wars. We’ve heard that before. Remember WWI, known as The War to End All Wars, 37 million casualties. WWII was bigger, 60 million. Will WWIII finally end all wars? Or end the world, civilization, planet?

And it’s already started folks, ending the Great American Dream.

Fasten your seat belts, soon we’ll all be shocked out of denial. Some unpredictable black swan. A global wake-up call will trigger the Pentagon’s prediction in Fortune a decade ago at the launch of the Iraq War: “By 2020 … an ancient pattern of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies is emerging … warfare defining human life.”

Full article available at

They’re not the only ones.

Also in August, 2012, IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis- a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs asks, “FOOD: How bad is the crisis?” In their article they note that there are droughts in major food producing countries throughout the world, and there may be little available for export and less still for food aid to starving countries. In July, they also published an article, “FOOD: Another crisis coming?” They correctly note in that article that 2012 temperatures are the highest on record; the highest since 1895 when the US government began keeping records. They also note that temperatures in the US states of Georgia and South Carolina – corn (maize) growing areas – rose as high as 45C! That is well beyond 40C, the temperature at which all life loses its vigor, and quickly begins to die off.

The 0.6C degrees is a global average. It may be much much hotter in some local areas.

It is interesting to note that the author of the book Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats predicted a drought in the summer of 2012. That’s precisely what we’ve seen! That seems to lend the book and its author some credibility.

I highly recommend reading this book. Get it from your local library, or buy a copy from your local book store or over the Internet. “This is the most important book you’ll read this year.” – quoted from Planet Green (from the book’s back cover)

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