Posted by: r.m. | April 2, 2014

IPCC report: adaptation in empty words. Revolution needed!

Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind – IPCC report: Warming is leading to more volatile weather patterns that are already reducing crop yields, the IPCC has warned

A United Nations report raised the threat of climate change to a whole new level on Monday, warning of sweeping consequences to life and livelihood.

The report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change concluded that climate change was already having effects in real time – melting sea ice and thawing permafrost in the Arctic, killing off coral reefs in the oceans, and leading to heat waves, heavy rains and mega-disasters.

And the worst was yet to come. Climate change posed a threat to global food stocks, and to human security, the blockbuster report said.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC.

Those of us who have been following the reports and the news on climate change cannot be surprised by the IPCC latest report – IPCC 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (accessed in full here).  And for those who continue to deny that the climate is changing and that we – we humans – are to blame, they seem to have lost their ability to read.

The IPCC solution? “The one message that comes out of this is the world has to adapt and the world has to mitigate

I wonder though: How can one adapt to such massive changes? Adaptation also cannot happen everywhere; what about the lands that will be drowned? And what form would this adaptation be?

George Monbiot discusses this point when he writes:

If a small, rich, well-organised nation cannot protect its people from a winter of exceptional rainfall – which might have been caused by less than one degree of global warming – what hope do other nations have, when faced with four degrees or more?

When our environment secretary, Owen Paterson, assures us that climate change “is something we can adapt to over time” or Simon Jenkins, in the Guardian today, says that we should move towards “thinking intelligently about how the world should adapt to what is already happening“, what do they envisage? Cities relocated to higher ground? Roads and railways shifted inland? Rivers diverted? Arable land abandoned? Regions depopulated? Have they any clue about what this would cost? Of what the impacts would be on the people breezily being told to live with it?

My guess is that they don’t envisage anything: they have no idea what they mean when they say adaptation. If they’ve thought about it at all, they probably picture a steady rise in temperatures, followed by a steady rise in impacts, to which we steadily adjust. But that, as we should know from our own recent experience, is not how it happens. Climate breakdown proceeds in fits and starts, sudden changes of state against which, as we discovered on a small scale in January, preparations cannot easily be made.

 

I would have loved to have been surprised by the report – I would have loved to read that the IPCC is demanding environmental justice, protection for the environmental refugees (already here and millions to come), and a new economy.  Adaptation? Not enough. Revolution? Yes.

Dr. Brad Werner earlier said that – our entire economic paradigm is a threat to ecological stability. And indeed that challenging this economic paradigm – through mass-movement counter-pressure – is humanity’s best shot at avoiding catastrophe.”

 

 

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Responses

  1. Adapt to climate change ? How is that even possible? What can we do when our lands flood and our houses get destroyed? Ah let me guess, we ‘adapt’! It is funny, really. We need real revolutions, real laws to cut down climate change gradually. We need serious laws concerning cutting down greenhouse emissions and using alternative renewable sources of energy, for example. Something that captured by attention is the mention of ‘green job’ in the article. Why not? Instead of working in industries that emit so much pollution how about we switch to other jobs, including more environment- friendly ones? I am talking about serious measures, serious and logical procedures that can be taken to avoid the very rapid change in our climate. It is rapid, more than you can imagine and the results are already seen as floods, for example, in many parts of the world as seen in the article. So, let us take action now!

  2. Human beings are able to cope with environmental changes; they have survived many previous drastic environmental fluctuations. However, the need of revolution is inevitable because, this time, it is not only about climate change, it is about our health, our food security, our ecology, and others. The epidemics, the new human diseases, the death of millions of species, and the inconsiderate human behavior should be a wake up call for us.

  3. “The one message that comes out of this is the world has to adapt and the world has to mitigate“. Adaptation is definitely not a solution. It is like saying the climate changed, it is ok we might survive. It is known that if climate keep on changing, temperature keeps on increasing, countries will suffer from harsh periods of draught; if ice keeps on melting, seawater level keeps on rising, many countries will suffer from floods and some will be covered by water. However, it doesn’t end here. Many ecosystems will be lost, many species will get extinct, and human existence will be on the edge since no enough food will be available, and our health will be throated due to the spread of many disease. Everything will collapse. Therefore, we cannot just adapt. We need revolution. We need to change our lifestyles. We need to come up with revolutionizing ideas and promote them. We have to aware people. We need alternative renewable sources of energy. We need to decrease green gases emission, plant more trees, use less our cars, eat less imported food, and so on. There are many clever engineers who have many amazing ideas that can at least stop climate change, so gradually we can decrease it. We can’t just keep on saying I wish this and I wish that. We have to act, and very fast.


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