Another article on looming mass extinctions.
There was an excellent article in Nature about this recently. Their data points to 2100 as the time of the mass extinction but it’s a wide band and we’re already seeing unprecedented loss of wildlife diversity. Ecosystems are moving closer to collapse.
The climate folks have been warning about rising temperatures and now here come the consequences. Apparently India’s wheat harvest is in trouble with high temperatures now killing their harvest in the field. This is especially bad with Ukraine out of action for the world’s wheat supply.
I’ve been watching the climate research for a few decades now and unfortunately the estimates of when things get bad have all been too conservative. The oil company attacks did exactly what they were designed to do - keep people skeptical and thinking the scientists didn’t know what they were talking about.
Surprise! They knew what they were talking about and things are worse than anyone suspected thanks to the scientists pulling punches to not be attacked and threatened.
I’ll go ahead and vent here since it’s somewhat of a safe space, but we’re likely done here on this planet. The fires and drought in the west are bad. Tornadoes and floods in the east are bad. And the rates of change are accelerating. On that backdrop it’s important to remember that the planet is far from equilibrium. What we are seeing now are the consequences of burning fossil fuels 20 or so years ago. Likewise, if we stopped burning all fossil fuels today, we wouldn’t see the big benefits for 20 years. The plan is to reduce our use over the next 30 years (2050 is a red letter target) but that pushes the benefits of no longer increasing CO2 concentrations out 50 years. Meanwhile, all the CO2 released so far remains in the environment to continue raising temperatures and killing species.
We may not hit the 1.5C max temperature target for some number of years, but the danger to the world’s food supply is more than here. This aspect of global warming seems to be hitting way faster than anticipated. Crops have to sit in the fields for months at the mercy of heat, drought, storms, flooding, hail, fire, etc. We’re getting to the point where a crops‘ odds of being destroyed during that time are significant. It will be important to watch India’s wheat harvest for a read on future outlooks.
We’re stuck here for it too. We can push the worst out to some extent and buy some time, though. Maybe not as much as we hoped before, but everything people do to conserve or switch to renewables does slow the process and make the calamities less calamitous. But we have to do it now as opposed to waiting.
It’s also the same people to blame - the fossil fuel industry and republicans and others who have pushed the anti-global warming mantra and attacked scientists. Rex Tillerson as head of Exxon knew about these issues decades ago. Exxon’s scientists were the first to consider the effects of carbon loading by burning fossil fuels. They knew and Tillerson set up a shadow email account and separate communications and buried the research after it became conclusive that fossil fuels could wreck the climate. Tillerson and the API, the coal industry, etc, all began their attacks on open science to keep everything quiet and the world was all too eager to pretend there was no danger or consequence to fossil fuels.
This was a con by the fossil fuel industry and now we are stuck with the house of cards about to fall. Might want to start preparing because the shit is going to be hitting the fan over the next decade.