2.1 HARBINGERS of DOOM
All this while up to the middle of the Twentieth Century, Climate was considered as a constant by the majority in the Science Community with only small blips and variations. There was no profession of Climatology. For many years there had been some measuring and modelling of C02 emissions done by Scientists in varied disciplines including Geophysicists, Meteorologists, Geologists, Vulcanologists, Paleo-botanists, Ecologists and Geographers. The Scientists all had three common issues – being isolated in their measuring and research, scratchy funding and completed reports gathering dust on the Boss’s bottom shelf in the ‘NFA’ Section.
These isolated dust gathering reports had similar measured outcomes that Carbon emissions were gathering steam and starting to track alarmingly upwards. They described increasing heat being trapped due to more CO2 within the atmosphere and postulated as to what the Global heating consequences may be. It is a worthwhile reminder that CO2 has been part of Atmospheric gases for as long as humans have been around. Without CO2 in the atmosphere the Planet would be seriously colder than now and almost uninhabitable.
Increasing atmospheric CO2 is similar to placing an additional thin blanket in the atmosphere which limits expired heat from the Planet surface penetrating through the atmosphere to Space. Atmospheric CO2 does not break down. The more we pump out CO2 at ground level, the greater it accumulates in the atmosphere and this thin blanket of CO2 gets thicker making life ‘warmer’ for those below. At ground and sea level our comfort of existence is very much dependent on what is happening in the’ Heavens’, Whether we liked the ‘news or not, we were then on an early path to our eventual Climate trauma.
As mentioned earlier it does take some time for humans to wake up to environmental degradation going on in our backyard. The Sciences associated with Environment and Climate finally started to be noticed. Caring for your Environment gained momentum among the general population from the humble Urban residents Action group objecting to a freeway through the middle of the of their only bit of urban forest left, to ‘Green’ Political Parties birthing in the early 1980’s, particularly in Europe and downtown Tasmania. Conservation and Environmental Protection were at their core.
Sometimes it took catastrophe to repeatedly happen before any action by Industry or Government. In some part, USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Clean Water Act were born out of the ongoing devastation in Ohio from the Cuyahoga River fires which had occurred no less than 13 times over 100 years all due to Industry seriously polluted outflows. The last fire in 1969 finally had the public in one clear voice shouting enough is enough. Government and Industry had to respond and start fixing our damaged Environment in a considered and Scientific way. About time!!
Common threads of issues of CO2 and increasing emissions started being pieced together within the broader Science community. In 1977, new Science journals such as “Climate Change”, provided the opportunity to finally publish and get noticed by the Science Community at large. Correspondence and Conference’s sprung up, Speaking tours commenced and Airplane flights were had. Out To Community, Activist groups and Unis they went.
Maybe the research was right that Climate was not as constant and almost flat-lined as we believed for many years. These Scientists entered the Boss’s Office with far more confidence than the Bad Old Days. After all – the Statistics were more comprehensive and consolidating. Scientists from different disciplines now agreed. Any change? Nope, they still were turned away. Bosses do not like Bad News!
It is not as if these Intrepid and unacknowledged Scientists wanted to be the Harbingers of Doom. Who wants to be the Holder of this message? Not many that I know. But the stats did not tell lies. Things and stuff that we accepted as right, were not so right after all. The CO2 message that seeped out in the 1970’s just kept on getting stronger and a tad more urgent – that we are on the road to catastrophe for humans and the rest of life on the Planet.
For a while it looked as if their messages were doomed to still be unknown by the general population and ignored by those in Industry and Government. The Science with catastrophic outcomes finally started being taken up by general circulation news outlets who all appeared to love a good disaster. After all how could anyone ignore the bleak short to medium term and hellish long term future that this warming evidence suggested:
- Polar Icecaps melting and increasing Sea Levels that impact on low lying areas. It was explained to me some years ago that yes, polar ice melting contributes to increased volume. Ou greater issue of rising seas is due to the Oceans warming. It is a simple science fact – as water heats and moves towards a gaseous state, it expands its volume. The expansion of water volume through heating is and will be a main driver of Ocean levels on the up and up as temperatures continue to rise.
- Increase in frequency and intensity of crazy and potentially catastrophic weather.
- Upheaval to Climate systems where once an area was subject to good and sustainable seasonal rains, over time rainfall diminishes, water resource dry up, plant communities are fundamentally altered, fire risk increases, crops die putting human populations on the brink of collapse. Conversely, some areas of the Planet may see a shift towards better rainfall and being able to grow crops where previously the climate was too harsh. Unfortunately, these bonus locations are currently in places that has very little human population and will need massive human migration to take advantage. Maybe? Maybe not?
- Rapid Collapse of Ecosystems. Human, plant, animal and insect communities will not have time to adapt to the rapid climate changes or migrate to more equitable places and will surely die.
A pretty serious but not exhaustive ‘Hit List’. “Shock and Awe” on a scale far grander than a certain terribly contrived War in Iraq. Destruction that strikes directly at the heart of our human existence. Nature gone mad as a reaction to our profit driven Human rape and pillage. No turning back the clock on this. The timeline for catastrophe if not right now will be on us within the next Generation or two. Harbingers of Doom the Scientists certainly were.
What of the reaction? Would Governments finally start listening and prepare? What would Industry reaction be as the vast majority of the doomsday scenario was caused by them. For our future to have some hope, Governments and Industry seriously had to step up. Would there be more report dust-gathering? Surely not as the evidence was becoming overwhelming. Even ‘Blind Freddie’ could tell that something was wrong. If only it was that simple – you know, accepting the Doomsday Science and get on with fixing STUFF up!
The Good New Days are on the way………..