Any crash course to a broad understanding of the scale, complexity and urgency of the climate crisis should include this informative, one-hour lecture by journalist, syndicated columnist and military historian, Gwynne Dyer, based on his new book, Climate Wars (video by TVO and recorded at the University of Toronto, Dec. 8, 2008).
A couple of years ago, Dyer noticed that the military in various countries, especially in the Pentagon, were beginning to take climate change and the idea that global warming could lead to wars, seriously.
After a year-long trek talking to scientists, soldiers and politicians in a dozen countries, he became very concerned.
I attended the Toronto talk featured above and was initially miffed by:
Dyer’s apparent resignation to the situation;
The complete absence of any grand call to action or mobilization to tackle the crisis;
The all too common reference to +2 degrees Celsius as the supposed tipping point beyond which catastrophic impacts would accelerate and become irreversible when, in fact, + 2 C is merely a convenient, deceptive political target and outright betrayal of the latest science that warns TIPPING POINTS ARE IN JEOPARDY RIGHT NOW — AT LESS THAN +1 DEGREE CELSIUS OF HEATING.
But upon reflection, the majority of the presentation is an exceptional synthesis of the confluence of unprecedented, geopolitical stresses that have already begun to effect — and threaten — every aspect of our lives.
Characterizing the situation as an EMERGENCY, Dyer warns it’s about to get a whole lot worse and makes 4 broad conclusions he feels we all need to know:
1) A lot of the scientists who study climate change are in a state of suppressed panic because things are moving much faster than their models predicted.
2) Global warming will cause wars, because some countries will suffer a lot more than others (water/food) and this will make dealing with the global problem much harder.
3) The world’s countries will probably not cut their greenhouse gas emissions enough, in time, to avoid surpassing +2 degrees Celsius (See thoughts above about the outdated inaccuracies of the +2 degrees Celsius marker).
4) Geoengineering, Dyer says, though awful and unpredictable, will be necessary in order to make it possible to cheat on the deadlines, at least for a while, to avoid disaster.
- Website – GwynneDyer.com
- Book – Climate Wars
- Interviews – Essential research interviews conducted by Dyer for Climate Wars
- Podcasts – CBC podcasts, part 1, 2, 3
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- Article – Perfect storm of environmental and economic collapse closer than you think (2020!), Jonathan Porritt, The Guardian
- Article – Scarce food, water, energy will bring global mayhem by 2030, says scientist, Ian Sample, Irish Times
- Article – The geopolitics of food scarcity, Lester Brown, Spiegel Online
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