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Thoughts On … #1: Fighting Climate Change, Part Two

So, in regards to yesterday’s post, the take-aways I have are as follows –

Without sustained, long-term efforts to remove greenhouse gases from the environment, global warming will get worse (United Nations Global Environment Outlook for 2019, 44). Second, the changes precipitated by global warming will have numerous unwanted consequences around the world – with the possibility to cause mass extinctions, global food crises, economic catastrophe, and a host of other problems that no one needs. Even if one were to do away with the most dire scenarios being forecast (such as the end of human civilization by 2050), is it so hard to accept the following points –

  1. The five hottest years on record across the globe have occurred in the past five years. This trend will continue unless global warming is addressed worldwide.
  2. A major source of the world’s freshwater supply comes in the form of melting mountain snow that flows down mountains to feed rivers.
  3. Hotter weather in the United States (and the world as a whole) is adversely affecting the formation of mountain snow – and thus, fresh water stocks in the US (the same can be said for the world).
  4. Agriculture is one of the primary consumers of the world’s fresh water supply (consuming about 70% of freshwater used worldwide in a given year).
  5. Putting aside the effect a warmer planet will have on crops like coffee and cocoa, staple food crops will also be adversely affected.
  6. Food will cost more worldwide (along with everything else). The poor will bear the hardship of rising prices harder than any other group.
  7. The strain of the costs of global warming on governments and families worldwide will force more and more individuals into poverty, increase human migrations from the warmer areas of the world (areas closer to the Equator) to areas nearer the Poles, and destabilize and outright overwhelm governments worldwide. Human conflicts over basic necessities will increase. Meanwhile, governments struggling with providing basic social programs for their citizens (and migrants) will find it increasingly difficult to maintain order within their borders.

So much for doing away with ‘the most dire scenarios.’ This all looks kind of bleak. Though technology can address the freshwater crisis that global warming makes worse, things like desalinization plants (that make saltwater … unsalty?) have their own issues. Most experts agree that desalinization cannot solve the host of problems the world will see from global warming – as outlined above.

Starting tomorrow, then, I hope to outline a thought experiment in earnest. And, as the days and weeks stretch ahead, I hope to get others involved, too. Hope springs eternal. I think it’s time to hope – and act … for all of us

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