09 November 2023

Some stark reality for ya

 In the midst of this video the presenter notes that "a single paper" may not reflect a scientific consensus, but that it's also true that in a developing field of knowledge, it is often the case that the scientific consensus lags, and good research recently published is more likely in some cases to reflect the actual facts of the question. 

So, taking at face value this research on the inevitability of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf, which in turn will necessarily cause much of the continental ice sheet of Western Antarctica to slide into the sea and melt, the upshot is pretty stark: we are fucked. We failed to heed warnings in time and massive disruption is not preventable at this point. 

This process, alone, which will likely be only one of several ice melt events (Greenland, Eastern Antarctica) over the next 100 years, means a sea level rise of fifteen meters. (Likely much more when all the contributing factors add up). Where the Willamette River meets the Columbia north of Portland, where I live, the altitude above mean sea level is about 3 meters. Adding 15 meters to sea level, even though that will not translate directly to an additional 15 meters upriver from the ocean this far, will nonetheless likely flood significant parts of the Willamette Valley here in Oregon, including low lying parts of my city. 

And every other low lying or coastal city in the World. 

Our civilization is just not prepared to deal with this, especially with less than a century to go, and many other climate and scarcity related problems occurring simultaneously. 

Inconvenient truths, indeed. 

I am fairly confident our species will survive and eventually learn to cope with all these issues, but it's gonna be a very, very rough go for our global civilization in the latter part of this century, and that means in the lives of billions of people who are alive today. Disruption on a scale that we simply have not seen, even with the wars and other horrendous events of the earlier 20th century. It all comes together, and if we are not able to adapt and find ways to prevent further degradation of our environment, complete catastrophe and extinction are not out of the question. The challenge seems overwhelming. But somehow we must adapt, because there will be no other choices. 

I can't help but think about how young people around the turn of the coming century will look back at the people of the 20th and early 21st century and feel very angry, betrayed, and short-changed. And they will not be wrong. We have failed the future, and they will blame us. But, as David Wallace Wells likes to point out, it is never too late to start mitigating the disaster; every right thing we do, just like every wrong thing, is cumulative. If we are to emerge from this disaster sooner rather than later, and with a functioning global ecosystem that is resilient enough for us to continue inhabiting this planet, then there is no time to waste, no resources surplus to the effort, and no use for stupid, unworkable technologies like the carbon capture, biomass that equates to just cutting down trees, and the ethanol fraud, all of which only make the conversion to a completely renewable energy future harder and for it to take longer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gyromantic Informicon. Comments are not moderated. If you encounter a problem, please go to home page and follow directions to send me an e-mail.