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How Climate Change and Resource Scarcity Threaten Democracy

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

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There is much written about the causes and consequences of climate change including extreme weather events which are already occurring, and anticipated rising sea levels, melting ice caps, and mass extinctions. There is also a lot written about the immediate steps mankind must take to avoid unmitigated disaster.

Less is written about the irreversible events that are already in the works, based on the one degree Centigrade of global warming that has already occurred. The reality is that if we miraculously reduced CO2 to pre-industrial levels overnight, it would take 50 to 100 years to undo the damage we have already done.

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Not much is written, either, about the extensive resource shortages that are anticipated in both the developing and the developed world over the next two decades. Nor the implications for military and population control planning. Both Richard Heinberg, of the Post Carbon Institute, and international affairs and military analyst Gwynne Dyer have written quite coherently on the subject. Heinberg, in his 2004 book Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post Carbon World and his 2010 book Peak Everything; and Dwyer, in his 2009 book Climate Wars.

(Image by Richard Heinberg)
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Heinberg mainly addresses how central government is likely to manage an increasingly restive population in a time of widespread water and food shortages. Dwyer is more concerned about Pentagon and British military planning for what they regard as inevitable "climate wars" triggered both by competition over scarce water and food and by an epidemic of failed states. (In Dwyer's view, countries become failed states for one reason: their inability to feed their population).

Both Heinberg and Dwyer have excellent YouTube presentations regarding their work

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybRz91eimTg&feature=related is a talk Heinberg gave in New Zealand in 2007.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRUfwIJL0HU is a brief talk by Dwyer regarding his book Climate Wars.

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http://archive.richardheinberg.com/museletter/186 on Heinberg's website also provides an excellent summary of social control options.

I strongly recommend people check these sites out, as this is an extremely important issue for American progressives to follow and discuss. In New Zealand we already have our own Civil Collapse Strategy Group as part of Transition Towns New Zealand (see http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/node/2784). Unfortunately I don't see anything comparable happening in the US.

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I am a 63 year old American child and adolescent psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. I have just published a young adult novel THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW (which won a NABE Pinnacle Achievement Award) about a 16 year old girl who (more...)

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