Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Petrol to the Fire


The climate change news is becoming a blitzkrieg of realization.

According to this Reuters story, the Brits think they may need the army to deal with it. The US military made that determination long ago.

"Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, said risks that climate change could cause weakened states to disintegrate and produce major humanitarian disasters or exploitation by armed groups had to become a feature of military planning.

But he said first analyses showed planners would not have to switch their geographical focus, because the areas most vulnerable to climate change are those where security risks are already high.

"Just glance at a map of the areas most likely to be affected and you are struck at once by the fact that they are exactly those parts of the world where we see fragility, instability and weak governance today.

"It seems to me rather like pouring petrol onto a burning fire," Stirrup told the Chatham House think-tank in London." more

And now a new report from a senior IPCC member has revised the time line on Greenland's ice sheet falling into the sea. Instead of thousands of years it may now be hundreds:

"The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its five-yearly report earlier this year, and described threats from global warming including sea-level rise of up to 79 centimeters this century.

It said that the entire Greenland ice sheet would melt over a period of thousands of years, if temperatures remained around 2 degrees centigrade (3.6 Fahrenheit) or more above the levels predating wholesale industrialization in the developed world.

But the new research, not considered by the IPCC, could change that view, according to Bert Metz, a senior IPCC member.

"No models that predict sea level rise include this," he told Reuters on the fringes of a climate change conference hosted by Chatham House in London on Monday.

"It's plausible that the whole thing could disintegrate in hundreds of years, an order of magnitude faster." more

Now I know that hundreds of years seems like a long way off, but its not as far off as thousands of years. And in civilization time/years, it's next Tuesday. Besides, if we can lose one order of magnitude in a matter of months, we are definitedly treading on the proverbial thin ice of scientific certainty.

Even if it is several hundred years and we started moving all of our coastal cities right now, we probably wouldn't be finished in time.

The new leader of the European Union sees the situation to be dramatic.

"Climate change is the most important political issue in the European Union, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said after a visit to Greenland to see the effects of global warming first hand."We need to do more. The situation is very dramatic," Mr Barroso said according to Danish daily Politiken.

"Greenland is without doubt one of the areas on the planet which are most affected by climate change," he added, while explaining that it was essential for him to see the effects of warming with his own eyes.

"It is important for me to have a direct contact with the local societies where climate change affects their way of life and economic income. It is very different from reading the well-researched briefings... more

The period between the very first Barbaric invasions of Rome and its final fall in 476 was hundreds of years. The end of the west took about 75 years after the Visigoths penetrated Italy.
.
I suspect they saw it coming.

As do we.

As we add Petrol to the Fire.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it interesting that the new Secty-General of the UN now attributes the genocide in Darfur as being directly attributable to global warming.

K

3:19 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

yes, it may well be te first climate change disruption of its kind. Oil has something to do with it too.

6:58 AM  

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