Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | November 28, 2012

Doha COP18 Climate Summit of the UN already an epic fail

 It’s deadly quiet in Qatar today…
A graveyard contemplating yours:
In Doha things are going swimmingly bad at the UNFCCC and all the attendant meetings of Ministers at the
COP18 of the United Nations process of dealing with Climate Change.
 We are drowning in the quick sands of Qatar.
 Whoever had the seriously mentally deficient idea of holding the United Nations Climate Change talks in the most autocratic and most polluting oil producing state of the Gulf is in need of  a head clock cleaning…
 Still we all seem to go through the motions of meeting-greeting, speaking, negotiating and evangelizing and ultimately putting positive public pressure to government ministers and diplomats — all the while wasting time in this air-conditioned nightmare, Doha’s COP18 conference is.
 Not many Prime Ministers yet but then again the talks are written off from the get go — ever since we knew that Qatar is the host and that it will not allow visitors from the public and civil sector and from the EP to come and raise the issues that really matter.  The UNFCCC organizers didn’t put any faith in this meeting anyway and they simply repurpose this UN meeting and the venue as a pure procedural issue discussion for the second commitment period of Kyoto. Now if there ever was any use for it as a second commitment period being ratified by the industrialized nations, it’s debatable. Kyoto has long outlived it’s usefulness and reclaiming a corpse does no good whatsoever.
However prohibiting activists and the Environmental Parliament from attending and staging demos and town hall meetings in Doha is telling of how the process has broken down giving in the whole lot to the polluters and the fossil fuel industry of which Qatar is but a desert outpost.
So the COP18 misses the chance for the people’s will to be heard and for our ideas to be given a proper hearing and a democratic debate, and that is perilous for our world. Because unlike dictatorships such as Qatar, Democracy reigns the world over even if only in the hearts of People in most places of the globe. And for the few of us who are actually lucky enough to live under a freely elected Democratic parliament, we are keen to share this old and valued idea of crowdsourcing the decision making and collective action to all other brethren suffering under the yoke of autocracies across our little blue planet. And if we stand any hope of solving our problems collectively for the world — it must always be under Democratic rule and in a common collective decision making body. A body politic like the Environmental parliament where enlightened Democracy progresses to a global forum for the future of our planet…
So to be excluded from Qatar is only fitting and a a badge of honour to be worn proudly…
And risking arrest by being here is also proper and fitting for we are fighters and Leaders.
 So it is refreshing to hope that we’ll manage to spread our evangelism here, because this is what we need to do right now and even though we risk the most in terms of personal freedom and police brutality we aim to confront the Qatari squads of mercenaries policing this small enclave of wealth built squarely on slave labour.
Still we must speak to our people worldwide through our living, leading, and bleeding example and not through our talks.
 Leadership fostering Change at the local level is all important, since these global gatherings after twenty times, in so many years and so many cities, seem like Deza Vu since we utterly fail – each and every time. We fail big, cause we fail to reach any reasonable agreement… or even show the road to it.
 Hope that by now You have gotten the idea we need to look ahead away form fossil fuel producers and see who survives in our future and what traits are those making us adapt. Look away from Qatar and from these failed negotiations and instead focus on utilizing your local powers of change.
The Revolution will neither be broadcast, nor will be televised. Yet it will spring up on you from the recesses of your heart, and it will capture your mind without any bullets flying…
It is time for a Revolution of the Mind to sort this thing out.
So maybe time for a spot of time voyage to visit the future. Our Common Future. A future wrought with danger and pain – yet a future none the less.

Although time travel technology hasn’t yet made it out of Dr Who’s garage — in the interest of visioning — let’s travel down time for a bit. Let’s enter the Tardis and hope for the best…

We are traveling now:

Not far – only a couple of decades or so ahead.

Still within most of your lifetimes and timelines.

Say it’s the year 2040.

Exit the Tardis and look around you.

Wow – We didi it – We have gotten a global agreement on emissions controls and we are all complying fully – save for the odd crazy tire burning and fossil fuel burning emirate like Qatar and the wicked fundamentalists rulers… of states prone to despotism. Yet all Democracies have complied and even China bears the burden of abstinence from fossil fuel burning…

Global CO2 emissions have peaked a couple of decades ago …

All the way back in 2020.

Sadly it was way too late to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 °C above preindustrial levels.

Inaction and the denialism of governments and businesses spurred on by greenwashing done by the fossil fuel industry lobby and expanding apathy around the world has led to a catastrophic warming of the globe. Feed back loops have been activated and the balance has tilted ferociously in the chaotic climate favour. The shift in climate has begun in earnest and that has already changed the world – fundamentally.

Unfortunately contrary to our optimistic ways – it changed not to the good…

All small island nations are now under water and their people, lost, drowned, floating dead or dispersed as climate refugees living in camps and begging as pariahs in other people’s homelands.

As temperatures climbed past the 2 °C mark, the worst effects were felt first in the poorer and vulnerable regions like in the starving waterless Sahel, and across all the sub-Saharan Africa and mostly in the South East Asia like the bay of Benghal but soonest were felt in all other areas of the globe too. Nobody was spared. And since nothing travels as fast as bad news and Climate Chaos drought alternating with floods, horrid storms and famines – the worst of them all – sapped the morale of people everywhere.

Extreme weather events – droughts, floods and hurricanes – have become far more common and far more severe than was ever thought possible. Yet the strange thing is that those storms affected more the rich areas of the planet, even though those nations were supposedly better able to cope with the associated damages, losses and negative effects… But their people were soft and apathetic and they just got lost.

Vulnerable nations fared a little better, because early on they realized that they had a stark choice to make:  Adapt and survive or begone for ever. Adapt or face the loss of hundreds of millions of lives. At huge political, economic and financial cost, their societies have managed to adapt willy nilly. Same as they have managed to face the loss of hundreds of millions of lives due to climate chaos caused death, external resource driven conflict and civil war, as well as direct storm weather effects, such as sudden sea level rises, and tsunamis — yet managed to adapt to that too…

Climate Chaos, climate deaths, climate losses, climate starvation, climate drought, climate refugees and climate wars are now words spoken and transcribed daily in the media and part of the vernacular of every nation and political debate.

With temperatures running ever higher towards the 4 °C above pre-industrial levels, the global Climate Chaos follows in intensity. More death and loss caused by the resultant civil wars in the poor nations and external wars by the industrialized ones. One key difference with the 2 C rise, will be the increase in extreme weather events that cause these wars

The not so good news is that the extreme weather will become more prevalent in the Northern hemisphere and thus the global South will be spared some of nature’s intensity – since that wild energy will be dissipated by the time it returns and hits the Southern hemisphere. Yet the law of increasing returns and the crazy weather will shift the landscape even further making the rich Northern and Western nations poor, and spreading much turmoil by turning the wealthy nations into starving masses. That is something the science rich models of Climate Change prepared in the best Universities, will not reveal to you. Simply because in their arrogance of assumptions about todays parameters, their sets of data don’t risk long held beliefs and steady assumptions that remain stable as to the capacity of Western nations to cope and keep the current status quo intact. And as this fallacy is based on today’s demographic and economic data with linear projections going forth – we all know where it leads. Yet there is no linearity to Climate Chaos and Climate Change has already driven home this message since things are already changing much faster than our models have ever predicted, and in ways we never thought possible before now.

Still some God fearing politicians, say we can solve all of this with proper investment and the will of God as required by our faith. Some others say the end is near and we deserve these just deserts, so go ahead and drown yourselves a day early. Some others say we need a new God. And some others think we just have to throw money at the problem. And they are all usually correct — because who cares to disprove idiots when their life is at risk. Yet its usually the greenwashing businesses and the fossil fuel industry along with it’s store bought politicians and practitioners of Greenwashing propaganda in the Media and Public Life that spout this type of BS — sowing the seeds of doubt about the real need to get up from the couch and act. They go on to say that if we invest more money in nuclear energy, or in gas, or in the black arts of geoengineering, or in capital intensive adaptation and mitigation or in some silver bullet technological fixes — then surely we can adapt to some of this Climate thingy. And for what we can’t adapt to — it’s God’s will after all to go get lost.

You can choose to believe these harpies or not. Yet if you do — you ought to know that you believe them at your own peril. Because if you put into perspective our past experience you’ll learn lots more of what happens to us and to our learning curve. The self assured and unprepared usually perish. Case in point: Back in 1991, a massive cyclone struck Bangladesh, killing 230,000 people and the West barely noticed. Yet with the current Climate Chaos hitting the West more frequently we will cross the Environmental Parliament’s Berkeley Line soonest. And maybe, chances are, the chicken are coming home to roost… Yet back in Bangladesh, people learned and didn’t become complacent, because after the devastation the cyclone wrought, the country built shelters and early warning systems to defend itself. And when the equally powerful cyclone “Sidr” struck in 2007, the death toll was reduced to less than one-tenth of that. Better preparation can bring down the casualty rates, and the global South is getting prepared while the global North is still fast asleep. And that countries like the US are asleep is evident — if we judge by their response to Katrina and subsequent storm results like the one going on now, catching New York with it’s pants down — even though there has been plenty of advance warning about the Frankenstorm…

But above all else as we fully get into the 2 °C temperature rise and above, the severest impacts of Climate Chaos are increasingly felt worldwide. There is no national boundary nor physical border strong enough to defend against Climate Chaos and the strife that follows. The relative wealth of Europe and North America only means they can build better defences and suffer fewer deaths – in the short term – but economic costs will be so severe that their wealth will be dissipated faster than you can say Sovereign Debt Crisis. And who knows which nations and regions will suffer the worst effects and suffer the brunt of the Climate Chaos to follow?

Because Climate Chaos connotes complexity and chaotic effects and nobody can model those fully or even approximately. Yet surely the warmer climate will be bad news for all industrial and business concerns and thus the economic base of the Western and Northern Supremacy will be completely wasted. The loss of global agriculture, is but one example of this as we already experience it. Today in the UK, plant biologists, bio-technicians and agronomists are busy designing new varieties of staple crops like rice and wheat that might be able to survive more frequent heatwaves and droughts, and organisations like the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research are helping farmers find out what works for them. But this is minimal and despite such efforts, world crops will fail much more often (Environmental Research Letters, DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/5/3/034012), probably leading to food-price spikes, riots, revolutions, civil wars, and frequent government changes towards extreme political views and systems of inflexible governance — this in turn leading to external wars, deaths, shifting porous borders and mass migrations.

Even in periods of Peace – although there will not be many of these – in this warmer globe the social health will plummet and all health problems will skyrocket. Illnesses ranging from mass depression, to hysteria, to suicide, to heat stroke, to malnutrition, to infectious diseases, to tropical illnesses – now suddenly everywhere –  to civil strife, civil war, and conflict are all relevant and raging. With supply lines disrupted and rudimentary services getting scarce, food luxuries and fast food will be replaced with spot hunger in communities and cities across the globe, along with widespread famines and droughts that will challenge all societies to make ends meet and feed their people. This along with raging wars with real bullets and holes i your bodies n places nature and God never intended will result in millions of climate war dead and wounded, and will strain all health systems to the brink of collapse.

And all the normal health threats will also increase dramatically, as conservative models show tropical diseases will move into higher Northern latitudes and altitudes without warning. West Nile virus bearing mosquitos are already biting folks, in cities like New York, Toronto, Seattle, Washington and London and the worst diseases are not even talked about for fear of alarming the populace…

Last years, it was the food riots that unseated tyrannical regimes in the Middle East and the Maghreb and ushered in the Arab Spring, and that was a positive result early on…

Yet now we look at the famine in the Sahel and at the Horn of Africa and the news of change aren’t so good anymore when you see Al Qaeda manages to capture & control complete states like northern Mali, North Somalia, East Afghanistan, half of Iraq, and several other states where fundamentalists retook control as if we were going back to the 6th century. Even in the US we have religious fundamentalism on the rise with a secretive cult Mormon bishop running for president as a religious zealot. Who would have thought…

Still the tremendous devastation of the current 2012 heat wave is a Climate Chaos harbinger, because of the food scarcity trifecta unfolding before our own disbelieving eyes today. This is amazing because the US drought destroyed 50% of the corn crop, and the Russian heat wave resulted in the loss of wheat production by 40% and the halt of the Russian wheat exports — with similar failures in the rice crops due to drought in the Punjab and throughout all of SE Asia. Who would have thought of this…

Weather has gone crazy, the warmest year on record, US severe droughts and now Frankenstorms hitting America and inundating the East coast with rising sea water as if it were lowlying Holland or Bangladesh… Still no scientific model to this day had forecast all this happening so soon, and yet with all records broken for a warming planet this year 2012, we are going to experience all these things far sooner than we thought possible. We are back on today’s timeline in 2012 and haven’t moved the clock forward to 2040… except it seems the Climate and the Earth has.

Bear with me because from where am standing I can see that 2012 is a lot like 2040. And none of the Climate Prediction models saw this much Climate Change coming so soon. The future is here and its not pretty. And whether your religion du jour, calls these events, the rupture, or the singularity, or the end of days, or whatever, – you are probably right – because Climate Chaos is closer than you think and it just might look like “Noah’s Flood” or other biblical apocryphal or apocalyptic tales. Only this time it is entirely man made. No benevolent or hateful God caused your CO2 emissions. Your own carbon emissions brought this on due to your own complacency and culpability in your safe lifestyle and your inability to rise up from the TV comfort couch of remorse. So let’s just see what happens this year alone as food emergency reserves dwindle down to get a taste of what 2040 would feel like.

With constrained agriculture and the prices of all food staples rising catastrophically we are all three meals away from food riots and broken supply lines that will increasingly lead to temporary anarchy, followed by autocracy and stratocracy. Still, most health scientists believe that in the advent of Climate Chaos, public health in all regions of the globe will suffer. The advanced world will be far worse than it is today because life expectancy will suffer a nasty drop across the globe – but they had the biggest gains in longevity to begin with and the least resilient populace unaccustomed to climate related hardships, malnutrition and all the new strains of viruses, that the lesser world’s children had long ago adapted to…

Yours,

Pano

PS:

The degree of sea-level rise is a big uncertainty, but we know it surely follows temperature increases.

It doesn’t lag behind very much, and it depends on what happens with the Greenland Glacier and other glaciers too, but the worst of consequences probably will have kicked in by 2040 and intensifying rapidly. Most coastal cities will be floating to the second story windows… enabling people to swim in and out of their balconies and rooftops New Orleans style when hurricane Katrina hit…

And if the Greenland glacier melts as rapidly as it seems from today’s benchmarks, and if as it is lubricated from bellow with warm melt water, tips into the ocean suddenly and wholesale – it will surely drop all of us into the drink too. Now I only have one question for You: Can you swim? Be sure you can, because You will have to…  For a very long time.

This is not science fiction scenario but Scientific fact and well modeled out as it was discussed extensively during the Environmental Parliament Greenland Ice Summit last year and more will be shared this year too in the follow up Greenland Summit in Copenhagen this May 2013. With more than three quarters of humans living in coastal areas and next to rivers — the Greenland Ice Melt and associated sea level rises, will make sure to wipe us out so thoroughly that only the Noahs amongst us will survive…

And then as it often happens in our long history, the floods will recede and the difficult Dark Ages will follow.

They will reappear to keep us company for a long time to come and certainly until human beings shake off their hubris and reclaim their lost thread of connection to Natural balance.

Thus we will be returning again to the roots and learning all over again the basics. How to live off the earth mindful of the environment, in league with the climate and the weather. Too bad the weather conditions will be far worse and far more severe than anything us or our ancestors ever faced — in their trek through time.

Yet still the cycles of Life will follow one another same as seasons follow each other today.

Except we will not have clearly delineated seasons anymore and growing food will be hell on earth…

PS2:

That’s whats at stake in Doha this year at the UN-COP conference, and I only hope that we’ll take this dismal future into account, before we write off the talks completely and go back home.


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