Sunday, April 13, 2014

Climate change threats gets worse

Vanguard May 2014 p. 2
Bill F.

The latest report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a sharp reminder that humanity faces a bleak future unless the domination of the fossil fuel industry is cast aside.

Dealing effectively with climate change requires a rapid reduction in global levels of carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gases released by the combustion of fossil fuels. These gases are the main cause of atmospheric and ocean warming, and the growing acidification of the oceans.

The global fossil fuel industry is, to a large extent, owned and controlled by a handful of powerful corporate monopolies with interlocking interests and tentacles into every continent. Major ones are the US and European monopoly capitalists at the heart of global imperialism, plus the Russian oligarchs.

The science is crystal clear. The real struggle for the people is no longer an academic argument with so-called sceptics, but a political struggle to oppose, rein in and dismantle the fossil fuel monopolies and establish clean, sustainable sources of energy.

IPCC Report

The report is the second of a three part report covering the IPCC’s fifth major assessment of climate change. The first part looked at the science of climate change, and a further part due in April will consider options to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This part of the report was the collective work of 309 scientific researchers and has been endorsed by more than 100 governments.

Dr Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California, who was a leading author of the report, stated, “We look around the world and see widespread impacts of the climate changes that have already occurred. Many of these have real consequences…Vulnerability, the susceptibility to be harmed by climate change, is really widespread in society... there are vulnerable people, vulnerable activities, distributed around the world.”

The average temperature across the globe has risen 0.85 since 1880, and without urgent action further increases up to four degrees are possible by 2100. Just one or two degrees of atmospheric warming will be disastrous for hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

The report documents the consequences of climate change, making a case for urgent adaptation strategies to halt the rate of global temperature increase. Some of the more alarming and immediate consequences are…

  • Changing weather patterns, bringing drought and heatwaves to some regions and storms and floods to others

  • Melting snow and ice, leading to floods and rising sea levels, causing mass migrations of millions of people from low-lying islands and coastal areas

  • Warming and acidification of the oceans, effecting fish stocks and coral reefs
  • Changes to crop yields, leading to food shortages

  • Many species will be unable to adapt in time and are threatened with extinction

All these factors combine to increase the risk of conflict through the displacement of people and growing hunger, poverty and disease in poor and vulnerable communities.

Australia hot and bothered

A section of the report dealing with Australia noted that the rainfall pattern is already shifting south, bringing more frequent heatwave conditions to the temperate zones, but with more frequent extreme storms and heavy rainfall in other parts.

The population, which is concentrated in the coastal fringes, faces a greater risk from bushfires and heat stress as climate changes rolls on. Water supplies are always an issue in Australia and some regions will suffer.

Economic damage will increase also, with floods causing destruction of infrastructure and the closure of mines and railways. Tourism will be hit as eco-systems dry out, the Barrier Reef coral dies off, and the snow melts on the mountains.

Farming communities will see lower crop yields, while beef, lamb, wool and dairy producers will have lower output and higher costs.

Bad as it will be for humans, it is catastrophe for Australia’s unique wildlife. Many species are already struggling to survive, and climate change, even at the current rate, will bring more extinction of animals, birds and fish species.


As stated earlier, the struggle is a political one against the hard core of global imperialist interests, who seek to hang on indefinitely to their monopoly on energy resources and the obscene profits they are making every day.

They will not be swayed by science or logic, and certainly not by appeals to their humanity and compassion. No, they will have to be put out of business by the anger of the people, who have the energy and capacity to rebuild a clean world for future generations.

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