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article imageOp-Ed: Civilisation to end in 2050? You’re not that lucky

By Paul Wallis     Jun 4, 2019 in World
Melbourne - A report from an Australian think tank has predicted massive climate shifts will effectively crash “civilisation” (This mess is a civilisation?) by 2050. That prediction may be a bit underdone, in several ways
The report by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Melbourne is based on the theory of underreporting climate change impact. That in turn means that predictions are understated, It also means that measures for countering climate change, based on a lower estimate of effects of climate change, will be inadequate.
The study predicts:
• Extreme heat for longer periods, exposing 55% of the world’s population to serious high level heat waves.
• Sea level rise of 0.46 metres. That’s mid-range on most current estimates, but it’s still a big rise, with major coastal impacts.
• Species loss for plants and animals about double the current rate.
• Major shift in biomes, probably about double the current rate of transition to new environmental conditions.
• Coral reefs 99% wiped out. (That’s a huge hit to the marine ecosystems around the world, because it’s also a loss of a huge breeding habitat.)
• 1 billion people displaced by loss of food sources, severe environmental issues, etc. There are currently about 100 million displaced people in most of the world’s hellholes, so that’s a ballpark number in principle.
• Major coastal cities around the world to be adversely affected by sea level rise. (This is obvious, due to the fact that most major cities are built on or near rivers and coastal environments.)
• Left out - No information on the report about water resources issues, but pretty safe to assume water supplies will be adversely affected according to location and human demand.
All sounds pretty normal so far, doesn’t it? While the Midwest goes underwater and the Arctic melts, a “Did! Didn’t!” kindergarten level non-argument is raging in the dubious intellects of our fearless mis-leaders and everything’s just peachy keen. One more report for the idiots to go in to denial mode about, in fact.
Not quite the same thing this time
I would point out that this report says a lot more than usual. The information provided is scenario modelling, rather than taking raw data and trying to hammer it in to some comprehensible form. Scenario modelling is based on a series of working metrics, making it more accessible to practical analysis. It’s hard to analyse a moving target of information; with modelling you can take a range of metrics at the upper and lower ends and model them reliably.
The report is also an objective criticism of the macro-science behind predictions. While many of those predictions are coming true on an hourly basis, (Floods, huge fires, droughts, severe weather, etc.) the sheer scale and scope of both weather and accumulating environmental impacts isn’t at all easy to predict.
Early melt predictions, for instance, were well under the actual melt, and didn’t take in to account the increasing melt rate caused by initial large scale melts. Nobody knew what would happen, and there were no previous metrics for this phenomenon. This study is saying in essence that the overall predictions, grim as they are, are similarly under size.
The reason for that is that the weather and temperature produce multiple cumulative effects in the global ecosphere. No part of the world is truly isolated. What happens in one area inevitably affects everything else. It’s collateral damage, in effect. Rising heat affects much more than ice melt, for example. It can affect soil viability, desertification, water cycle, carbon cycle, you name it.
Another unusual element in this report is the much wider scope of overall climate effects factored in. Despite coming from my old home town of Melbourne, any Australian scientific study predicting the end of civilisation isn’t exactly standard procedure.
Civilisation, the obituary?
As civilisations go, this alleged civilisation has all the weaknesses of previous civilisations. Mismanagement, mindless obsession with money, endless wars, corruption, spreading poverty, failing institutions, and no effective leadership are pretty much standard for a failed civilisation.
What’s different about this civilisation is the ability to respond. There’s plenty of technical capacity to take effective steps to manage climate change. What needs doing is pretty clear. Almost nothing is happening on a worldwide scale. Garbage is allowed to accumulate in the oceans. Fish stocks have been almost wiped out. Food and water supplies are compromised, and the situation is likely to become worse over time.
This is a truly stunning level of incompetence, even with a very low bar set by previous failed civilisations and that fabulous human stupidity we all love so much. Even more bizarre is the governance situation, where those who do nothing useful in their own basic roles are expected to cope with a global emergency.
What’s not in this report but an obvious result of the scenarios is the sheer scale of human misery these scenarios predict. A billion displaced people? It’d be unspeakable. Look what happens to a few thousand displaced people in most cases, let alone a billion. Look at the impossible needs for food, water, medicine and housing a billion people would have to meet. This means in effect the destruction of possibly hundreds of millions of people. To put that in perspective, World War 2 killed 60 million people. This is nearly 20 times bigger, in terms of actual risks. The world could become like Yemen. Now figure out how much you'd like to be living in Yemen right now. This thing is likely to get worse, as time goes on. Think you're lucky enough to dodge it?
The world is being led by the dumb kids from grade school, and they haven’t got any smarter, and certainly no more perceptive. They’re trained to think in terms of quarterly financial reports and PR statements. Forward thinking is minimal and banal at best. There’s simply no point of contact with the real world, let alone disaster scenarios.
So- You’re expecting a collection of quasi or actual criminals and sycophants to save the world? A whole class of proven imbeciles who in the last 100 years have routinely blocked just about all progress will suddenly leap in to action in an incredibly complex situation and do everything right?
You’re kidding. There’s your obituary, folks. If you want a rewrite with a happy ending/beginning, get off your butts and demand it. While you’re at it, get the people who know how to fix it working on it. It’d be a first, since this whole stupid situation first emerged 50 years ago with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restorati, Climate change, extrene heat, Sea level rise, people displaced by climatte change
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