Can we stop talking about AGW now?
AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming. But, let’s be honest! It just isn’t that simple, is it?
Global average temperatures are rising. Since the 1980s, every decade has been warmer than the last. 1998 was a very warm year, but global warming has not stopped; it has morphed into Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD). Some even suggest we should call it Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) but I prefer ACD, because that is what we are experiencing: It will be decades before it becomes obvious that HIRGO is happening and, if we wait for it to be obvious, there will be no way to stop it.
We need to accept that ACD is a reality; it is an inevitable consequence of a warming atmosphere; one with more moisture in it more of the time and – as I said – it is exactly what the climate models have being tell us would happen for decades. That being the case, how is it that our politicians – seemingly led by members of a supposedly left-of-centre Democratic Party administration in the USA – can have such monumental tunnel vision as to offer up the planet itself as a sacrifice upon the altar of the god of Growth?
George Monbiot has been busy this week (and looks set to be busy next week too – presumably calling all sane people everywhere to rise up in a sustained campaign of civil disobedience). On Monday he reported on the negotiations over the text of the declaration (to be finalised today) that:
“The word ‘equitable’… must be cleansed from the text. So must any mention of the right to food, water, health, the rule of law, gender equality and women’s empowerment. So must a clear target of preventing two degrees of global warming. So must a commitment to change ‘unsustainable consumption and production patterns’, and to decouple economic growth from the use of natural resources.” – Monbiot (18 June 2012).
How can the government of the USA be against mention of such basic human rights; what can be more important… Growth, that’s what! Yesterday, Monbiot identified the astonishing inversion of the principles of the 1992 declaration achieved by confusing – if not substituting – sustainability with ‘sustained growth’:
“This term crops up 16 times in the document, where it is used interchangeably with sustainability and sustainable development. But if sustainability means anything, it is surely the opposite of sustained growth. Sustained growth on a finite planet is the essence of unsustainability.” – Monbiot (22 June 2012)
It really does make me despair. I have been complaining for weeks about the way in which so-called climate change “sceptics” invert reality; and now I find that our politicians are doing it too.
Sustainability => Sustainable development => Sustainable growth => Sustained growth.
It is like a game of chinese whispers; except it has been conducted in public and no whispering was involved. It is as if he warnings of scientists have been completely disregarded. Growth is seen as the only solution to our debt crisis. Nothing else matters. Growth will save us from our current mess; we will just have to re-write the basic laws of physics to make the future possible.
I fear this will be humanity’s epitaph: This Rio+20 Summit will go down in history as the day we attempted to re-write the basic laws of physics. It will be, as I said yesterday, a lasting testament to human stupidity, arrogance and greed.
The asteroid is approaching and, rather than designing a rocket to send up to blow it of course, we are getting out the red, white and blue paint – not to paint our flags or our faces – to paint an enormous target across the landscape to guarantee the asteroid cannot miss.
It is no wonder that I am not a socialist. Socialists believe in utopia. Utopia would require humans to be good, kind, fair, and reasonable. Humans – or at least those we have appointed to lead us – would appear to be none of these things and, so it would seem, we are in big trouble; because the Conservatives have been hijacked by people with no interest in conservation; no interest in being good stewards of what we have inherited from our forefathers; no interest in treating the Earth as they would like to be treated themselves; no interest in leaving the Earth as they found it… Nope, to hell with all that namby-pamby, good-neighbourly stuff. They have sold their souls to the god of Growth and, although they know it cannot go on for ever, they are living in denial of that fact; and behaving like it can and will…
Scientists that tell them they are wrong are dismissed as doomsayers; whereas scientists who insist that technology will enable us to circumvent the laws of physics are treated like magicians; and that is what they shall have to be…
Where will it all end? David Roberts answered that one (see the video I embedded here yesterday): 6 Celsius temperature rise by the end of the Century and a perpetual financial cost burden bequeathed to all remaining future generations that will make our current financial crisis seem like we temporarily mislaid the loose change in our pockets down the back of our favourite chair.