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.
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.
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.
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.