Tuesday, 13 December 2011


2 degrees celcius. If the average temperature of our planet increases by just 2 more degrees, we will be outside zones previously known in the entire history of mankind, and we have been around for around 200,000 years or so, according to science. This means a scale of unpredictability of unprecedented size. No-one knows quite what exactly this might mean for planet earth and humanity, and all life. Massive population shifts are certainly predicted, but these do not come about alone, or without conflict. Quarrels over diminishing and less accessible fuel resources and other naturally occurring necessities would be highly likely too. Quite a doomsday kind of scenario. All the more so when you listen to the experts talk with apprehension about the fact that agreements are not likely to really kick in until 2020. They talk of a tipping point beyond which it would be impossible to reverse the heating up process, because the warming itself unlocks more greenhouse gasses which in colder conditions are trapped in the seas and forests of our planet. They worry that the tipping point will be reached well before we get our act together to stop the process.The process, by our chronological standards seems slow, although the momentum is vast, but by Earth's own chronological standards we are positively hurtling into a new era. Our 200,000 years is a drop in the ocean of Earth's time frame. David Attenborough has even made his own plea, using evidence gleaned from his massive experience of globe trotting and observing the planet.
So, Kyoto, and what it represents could be as important as life and death. Unfortunately, for as long as it is not this generation's power wielders' lives and deaths, no-one is going to hit the absolute panic button. I think it probably is too late to stop us going into uncharted waters. (No pun intended.) So what is left for humanity? Well, the uncharted waters need not, might not, mean an end for humanity, nor even some kind of apocalyptic doomsday scenario, but what will be needed is a spirit of co-operation and mutual help and sharing on a scale the like of which we have never seen. History does not give us much cause for hope. However, a changed landscape and planet just might give us the motivation to give up fighting for individual national survival, to co-operating for corporate international survival. We can but hope, for the children of our grandchildren.

No comments: