Tim Flannery’s book – Weather Makers sends a serious message to humanity – at least to those who care to read it. In his book he talks about Paul Crutzen who received a Nobel prize for his work on eliminating CFCs from the ozone. With the climate change debate Crutzen is yet again thinking far ahead than most politicians, law makers and the general public do.
Here is his vision on 3 possible outcomes of the great game of climate modification that humanity is engaged in.
1. Our response to limiting emissions is too slow or unco-ordinated to avert great climate shifts, which destroy Earth’s life support systems and destabilize our global civilization. As a result humans are thrust into a protracted Dark Ages far more mordant than any that has gone before, for the most destructive weapons ever devised will still exist, while the means to regulate their use, and to make peace, will have been swept away. These changes could commence as soon as 2050.
2. Humanity acts promptly – on individual, national and corporate levels – to reduce emissions, and so avoids serious climatic consequences. Based on current trends, we will need to have commenced significant decarbonising of our electricity grids by around 2030, and to have substantially decarbonised transport systems by 2050. If we are successful, by 2150 or thereabouts greenhouse gas levels will have dropped to the point where Gaia can once again control Earth’s thermostat.
3. Emissions are reduced sufficiently to avoid outright disaster, but serious damage to Earth’s ecosystems results. With world climate on a knife-edge, Crutzen’s vision of internationally agreed geo-engineering projects becomes mandatory. Civilizations will hover on the brink for decades or centuries, during which period the carbon cycle will need to be strictly controlled, by large and small geo-engineering projects alike.
I don’t know about you but scenario #2 seems to be the intelligent and responsible approach. It is not happening and in Canada it is not even in plans as the current government doesn’t give a damn about anything but themselves. Their plans – if any – is way too slow and by the time implemented (good luck) it will be too late.
At the current time – I can only see scenario #1 to be the sad possibility as society in general hasn’t grown up yet to do what is right.
When people change the world will change. It is simple as that. So what are you willing to change?