Friday, March 21, 2008

Too late

Paul Rogers covers the release of a new European Union study on climate change and a UN study on glacier melt. First, the bad news:

Moreover, as the problems intensify the scale of measures needed to address them also expand. The evidence that existing carbon emissions will have their severest impact over at least the next three decades mean that plans for a 50% cut in global carbon output by 2050 - which, it is true, go beyond what was proposed barely five years ago - have already become woefully inadequate. Analysts may differ on the details of what is really required, but a consensus is beginning to emerge that 80% cuts are needed a long time before 2050 - including deep cuts by 2012-15, i.e. in the next five to seven years.

Now for the... nope, there ain't no good news. To imagine the world able to cut 50% of carbon output by 2050 is fantasy, 80% cuts are unimaginable.

So significant upheaval, especially in the poorer (southern) part of the world is inevitable, and it going to start pretty soon. The main focus of the European document is on how to contain that upheaval, with some feel-good parts about partial amelioration.

I believe that the US will also experience growing chaos within the next decade. The southwest now has a huge population that is dependent on a river/dam system that is already strained to its limits. The federal government, the only organization with the power to structure changes in less damaging ways, is currently run by the kleptocrats. They don't care. If and when a reason based group takes up the so-called reins of power, they will find that the reins have been cut, and if they rock the boat too hard to get them back, they will be eliminated, one way or another. Mass dislocations will be overseen by private police (think Katrina), who will protect the resorts of the rich and keep the desperate at bay.

Europe has a good chance to survive in a less traumatic way. Their institutions (mostly) have not yet been corrupted by a kleptocracy, and at least they recognize the dangers. It might be time to start packing.


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