To The Future: My Regrets

As I sit here today reading yet another piece of climate science information destined to negatively impact my children and their own progeny, I felt compelled to leave some commentary for those who will come after me decades later to convey how some of us in the late 20th and early 21st century tried to prevent, or at least reduce the impact, of what those future generations will experience because of this generation’s lack of will to act decisively when they could.

This ……   2020-generation-y    not this  climate-change

      is what we want to hand over to our children and grandchildren.  Will we fail? 

Current information being made available to not only individuals like me but the policy makers and media outlets around the world is an affirmation that not only is mankind contributing significantly to global warming through its continued and expanded use of fossil fuels, a measure supported by the fossil fuel industry lackeys in Congress, but pinpoints as close as science is willing to allow, the threshold year where the coldest years start to become warmer than the hottest in times past, like back here in 2013 and earlier.

If global warming continues its trajectory, the year average temperatures surpass historical norms is just over a few decades away, bringing huge threats to global biodiversity, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii, Manoa created an index based on 39 climate models used in a dozen countries, and compared that data to the extreme records from 1860 through 2005. “We looked at the minimum and maximum values that occurred in that 150-year window and that’s how we set our bounds of recent historical variability,” explained Ryan Longman, a doctoral student who worked on the analysis.

The researchers were then able to come up with the “year of climate departure,” and found that the worldwide average for that date was 2047, meaning that every year after that point will be as warm or warmer. In other words, it’s the date “when the old maximum average temperatures become the new minimum temperatures.”    SOURCE

This information follows on the heals just earlier this year that CO2 in the atmosphere just passed the 400 ppm barrier.  Clearly the warnings we had been receiving for at least the last three decades fell on deaf ears as climate scientists warned us that exceeding the 350 ppm limit back in the 1980‘s would thrust climate conditions into territory that would threaten all species and wreak havoc on global economies, especially “on the poor and on poor countries”, warned Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based NGO.

Signs of this have displayed themselves in Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, expanding droughts in most of the continental U.S. as well as massive flooding damages along the Mississippi & Ohio River basins.  Such dramatic climate change activities have been repeated around the globe and most likely were  reviewed in your history books.  Unless of course you got your text books from Texas.

go to school in Texas do you

As it stands now the climate deniers have convinced enough policy makers, media pundits and even the average citizen, that the threat of major climate changes from man-made global warming is at best something that may occur but that we can adapt for, to the more extreme view by some that the entire notion is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” and that we need not take any action that would allegedly cost consumers higher utility bills.

In other words, many back in 2013 would rather tend to our own comforts rather than help offset more catastrophic costs for all of you, two to three decades down the road.  This state of mind is tied to the “self-interest” creed that has become popular among a large segment of society who refer to themselves as Tea Partiers and who revere the ideological meanderings of a 20th century Russian emigre turned fantasy writer, Ayn Rand.

The influence of climate deniers in 2013 you would think would have been minimal since clearly 98% of the those scientist who specialize in and study the effects of global warming on climate concur that the “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th Century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations”, according to the 2007 Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change.  And though recent data made available from more thorough studies and technologically advanced models indicate that there has been a slowing of global surface temperatures over the last decade, the heat residual from the greenhouse effect caused by man’s activities have likely gone into the earth’s ocean waters.

Those handful of climate scientist who still spawn doubt about man’s contribution to global warming rely on funds from the fossil fuel industry to foster their claims, most of which has been disputed in peer-reviewed studies.  But outside of this small band of rabble are the more influential elements of climate science denial – the mass media sources.

There are of course those ideological-based media sources on the air waves like FOX corporate news and radio broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh who supply the hokum encouraged by such profiteers of fossil fuel usage like Charles and David Koch and the fossil fuel industry lobbyist, the American Petroleum Institute.   But even mainstream media sources failed to properly inform their viewers as they sought to protect their corporate interests and profit margins by maintaining a “false balance” between views of the climate science community and those mouth pieces paid by Exxon Mobil and the coal industry.  As I’m sure your generation is aware of however,  most people get their news from smaller outlets found on blogs, like climate denier Anthony Watts’ Watts Up With That pseudo-science site, and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, two of the earliest sources that must look like relics to your generation as you read this near mid 21st century.

As most of you struggle to relocate from coastal cities now being flooded by sea rise due to ice melts and those whose income relied upon the waters now have to find work in other fields, you are likely dealing with fewer resources from desertification as well as a population explosion from being inundated with poorer people from areas that are currently suffering in my time period, like Africa and parts of central Asia.  Traditional land holdings and usages will have diminished as population growth increases, especially in areas where fundamentalist christians have restricted abortions to women with unwanted pregnancies as well as curtailing supplies of birth control.

Sources of fresh water supplies will decrease dramatically as those mountain glaciers that supply about 75% of the world’s freshwater start to disappear.  Such losses are critical in heavily populated regions of Asia and especially Africa where drought today has all but eliminated ground water sources of potable water.   Winters will be a thing of the past and Springs will be so fleeting to all but those who reside north of the 49th parallel.

Features-SMH

I’m afraid dear children you will be the victim of an earlier ignorance that put profits before people and by people who wrapped themselves in the flag and religious dogma, assuring your poorly informed parents that America’s exceptionalism and the free market’s invisible hand will sufficiently address all future threats.  God and capitalism it was believed were always in control and therefore the notion that the new age chosen people would suffer from their own greed and arrogance was foreign to them.  It never crossed the minds of James Inhofe and his ilk who drowned out the voices of those like me that they were only saving themselves while failing to take action to inhibit or reverse the impending danger that awaited those of you who would inherit this world from us.

Try not to be bitter however.   It was bitterness that developed amongst our generation that created gridlock.  It was this ideological barrier building which prevented us from finding common ground and doing what was right instead of what satisfied the fantasies of those lost souls who sought a past that had been long gone or existed only in their delusional, fear-ridden brains.  Learn from our failures and take what knowledge we have established regarding the use of renewable, clean energy sources and how the earth, your only home, is a single eco-system that requires the parts to work in unison in order for your children not be the last of a species that once showed such great promise.

I hope that in the future, when our children and grandchildren look back and ask how their world came face to face with the global threats of climate change that what I write here will serve as another time-capsulated piece explaining their current condition.   My sincere hope however is that my worst fears are not realized and that instead of being prophetic it will only be viewed with curiosity because with really no time to spare, my generation might have finally began to turn things around shortly after I documented all of the above.

climate_denier_cartoon

 

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17 responses to “To The Future: My Regrets

  1. I can’t click “like” because this post is so scary. I feel completely overwhelmed by this topic; how does the average person take action on this? How do we try to get our voices heard? I have joined 350.org, I write to Congress…what else is there?

  2. Re “As it stands now the climate deniers have convinced enough policy makers, . . .” You do mean bribed, don’t you. I can’t imagine these folks approaching our elected representatives with charts and graphs and sound arguments to make their point. I think they just short-circuited the process with a check, no?

  3. Sadly, an awesome post, Larry. The efforts of those to quell right-action are (for want of a better word) evil. Researching the DSCOVR satellite recently I saw just how far these people will go. Here was the first earth observation platform that would for the first time measure the earth’s albedo; a measurement vital to resolves the planets total energy budget. It was paid for, built, and ready to fly in 2001. Bush/Cheney killed it.

  4. Can’t help but thinkin’ bout that old song, “A change is gonna come”. But it won’t be for the better unless folks start waking up.

  5. Winters will be a thing of the past and Springs will be so fleeting to all but those who reside north of the 49th parallel.

    Up here in my area of Canuckistan, Springs are almost already things of the past. Winter is a joke of what it once was. As a youngster, I could expect to spend mid-December to late March at least knee deep in snow. Nowadays, we get most of our snow in a couple of big storms and most of it melts away. Global warming has meant less days with snow but more snow in those snow days. (A couple years back one 2 day storm brought 2 metres of snow!) That’s because the closer to 0 degrees C the temperature is, the more snow a system generates, but the more likely it is to disappear. And that causes nasty shit at both ends, immobilizing storms followed by floods. Agriculturally speaking, a smaller spring snow melt can result in a drier spring. And from Winter, we go almost directly into summer weather.

    We’ve had a couple of more traditional weather years here recently and nobody knows how to handle it anymore. It makes me nostalgic and even more aware of climate change.

    Meanwhile, my nation is run by the most conservative regime in its history. PM Stevie Harper denies there even IS a climate, never mind one that’s changing. He actually looks forward to a day where the ice pack melts so that Arctic oil becomes available. He’s spending countless billions on weapons to defend the oil from….nobody…because we have no enemies and can’t give our natural resources away fast enough. He’s such a wannabee American it makes me sick.

    Harper eagerly gobbles on every oil industry Koch he can and sucks until it spits that nasty black goo on his face. He loves the Alberta Tar Sands (the dirtiest oil on Earth) and wants to build, not just the Keystone Energy pipeline, but another one that will run through sensitive environmental territory to ships that will pass through one of the most dangerous nautical stretches on Earth. In other words Exxon Valdez 2: Electric Boogagoo

    Despite the fact that one good storm like Sandy, or one big gulp in the Gulf can undo all the “economic good” that flows from it, we are going full-speed-ahead into disaster for the benefit of the 1%.

    • Well some of us down here have surely pissed Harper off a little, for a while at least, as we have manged the delay of the XL pipeline. I wish I could say we could stop it completely but you know that ain’t gonna happen.

      Snow!!! You still get snow? Actually we are not completely devoid of snow either from time to time but as you mentioned, it goes out as quick if not quicker than it comes in. Hadn’t had a normal winter here in North Texas for a few decades now.

  6. I often have thought that I wished I had been born say around 2075 or later because we will hopefully be more out in space by then, a normal activity, and I wanted to be part of all of that. Now, I suspect sadly that I’m best off being where I am, since the future looks very grim to me. My biggest ache is that those who so sanctimoniously and arrogantly proclaim that “all is well” will probably not be alive to look their children’s children in the eyes and have to explain why they refused to see the obvious, how they could stymie the majority and tell such lies in the name of misplaced religious interpretation and simple greed. I fear we are at the peak and all will be downhill hereafter.

    • “My biggest ache is that those who so sanctimoniously and arrogantly proclaim that “all is well” will probably not be alive to look their children’s children in the eyes and have to explain why they refused to see the obvious,…”

      Yep. I’ll bet they will feel the same shame about their parents and grandparents much like many German boomers and generation Xers do today about their parents’ role in Hitler’s Germany

    • All IS well…for the 1% and their cronies, that is. The rest? Not so much.

      Just as we in the West stuff our faces with deep fried chocolate bars and track every move of our favourite celebs with our shiny little tech-toys while completely oblivious to the billions who live in slums and desperately seek to avoid starvation, our ruling class will become ever more distant and uncaring as to the fate of their fellow citizens.

      Whatever misery the future brings, they’ll be perfectly safe, even as the rest of us are hacking each other to bits over the last bowl of rice.

  7. “Whatever misery the future brings, they’ll be perfectly safe …”

    Only until we can scale their fortress walls like the zombie characters did in WWZ. :-)

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