By Michael Collins
We don't have a substantial cushion between today's climate and dangerous warming. James E. Hanson
The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, James E. Hansen, announced the results of The link to this flash video was removed for security reasons around 530 million people around the world will need to find new homes because theirs will be gone. (United States Geological Survey) The impact on Florida is evident in the image. There will be 3.5 million people in need of new homes.
The time between now and midcentury will be marked by ever-increasing devastation and displacement for human beings in coastal areas. About 40% of the earth's population lives within 60 miles of a coastal area.
Where will the millions left homeless in Florida go?
What's the response when tens of millions in Bangladesh have no place to go?
What will China do with tens of millions seeking shelter?
It won't happen all at once. Incremental changes will produce a spectacle of suffering on a daily basis.
The debate on global warming as a factor in all of this should be over as well. Man-made influence and effects account for about 75% of the increases in the earth's temperature. The mantra of the coming death cycle will be the blinded effort to produce more and more of the very toxins that allow fewer to live.
The Pathetic Response of Those in Charge
If we were grading the current crop of world leaders on any aspect of their records, the result would surely be F, with a recommendation to drop the course of study. The laws required to prevent industry from harming citizens are virtually nonexistent. If U.S. courts took corporate personhood seriously, we'd all have massive law suits and the corporate leaders would be charged with assault with intent to maim and kill.
One hundred and ninety one nations joined the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The goal of the effort was to avoid global catastrophe through a coordinated effort. Hansen and others tell us that the protocol will have no real effect given the acceleration of changes. But even Kyoto's inadequate goal was not suitable for the world's largest polluter, the U.S. Both the Bush and Obama administrations failed to endorse the now-known-to-be-inadequate target. A follow-up conference on Kyoto was held in Durban South Africa recently. It amounted to nothing more than fiddling while Rome burns.
As citizens of the planet, we and our children have the right to expect a rational response by those controlling the levers of power. What is government for, if not for this? Can't the powers that be stop their triumphal spread of democracy at the barrel of a gun long enough to fix the greatest threat ever to the people of the world? The earth will survive but we may not.
The logical path would be a working group of highly competent engineers and climate scientists tasked to outline a solution, one that could be put in place soon. Instead, morally and criminally negligent inaction is the rule under the cover of nicely named programs of no account with the additional excuse provided by a wink and a nod in the direction of unimaginably cynical or ignorant climate change deniers.
Do these world leaders live on the same planet as the rest of us?
Do they care about their friends and families?
Don't they worry that there might be a final judgment after their final acts ensuring mass destruction?