Thursday, 10 April 2014

We're Doomed!

Not entirely voluntarily, I used to watch 'Dad's Army' a 1970's sitcom based on the Homeguard - the band of plucky men who were our last line of defence in the 1940's should the Nazis invade and take over. So like we Brits to turm mayhem into pantomime. 

My favourite character was the strereotypical Scot, both penny-pinching and dour, whose catchphrase was' We're doomed. We're all doomed!". Well Fraser, take a bow, you were right.

I'm sorry to be such a wet-blanket, especially on such a beautiful Spring morning, but I am going to out the inner ostrich and tell what I know. 

If it proves impossible to keep the global temperature rise to below 2C, the world's climate will be so changed that food production will fall year on year by 10%. It's already happening isn't it? Food prices are rising - a drought here, a flood there, a late frost, an early snow ... Confident predictions that technology would make up for the population rise and subsequent increased demand, are  proving over-optimistic. We have food banks in the UK  and the demand for them is growing, God knows how the desperately poor elsewhere are doing.

It is going to prove impossible to keep the temperature rise below 2C, because somehow, we the people, just don't seem able to grasp that science cannot be trumped by wishful thinking, and that ignorance is not a defence against catastrophe. 

I heard a smooth-talking highly persuadable US Politician trumpet the building of the Keystone Pipeline as the magic wand to cure his nation's ills. 

I read British tabloid stories about the benefits of fracking. Setting fire to underground coal seams is on the table too. Polluted water sources and fires we can't put out? Really?

 I used to think not. I had this equal and opposite resort to ignorance - a sustained and stupid belief that by now, humankind would have cottoned-on to the fact that we are in real and imminent danger of wiping ourselves out. 

If our political leaders are planning for food shortages, growing poverty, incipient unrest, we know nothing about it. They should be. Here in the UK, uncertain weather, highly disruprive to food production, is becoming the norm. I meet hungry people out on the streets. Yes, really hungry people, ( and the mal-nourished too, who are even more invisible because they're fat) and I wonder how can this be happening in the world's fourth largest economy?

I guess I always thought, of the Four Horseman of the Apocolypse, it would be War that led to the end of our fragile civilisation, I had not noticed how closely Famine was on his heels. 

Why am I so exercised today? I listen carefully to less sensational news items, and learned recently that to keep the global temperature rise to below 2C Exxon would have to leave 80% of its oil and gas  reserves in the ground. Other companies have not disclosed their figures, but I bet this is typical.

That was my epiphany, my Damascus Road experience. Because global corporations can do what they like in pursuit of profit, we are doomed. They will leave 80% of their profits underground when hell freezes over, and in the current climate, that ain't going to happen. 

No comments:

Post a Comment