climate change apocalypse

I’ve been pondering on the likely outcome of world wide climate change recently.  Partly egged on by the continuing bleak predictions of James Lovelock, and then again by the news this week that scientists are warning the ‘two degree’ climate change target is unlikely to be met.

According to Lovelock, it’s already too late.  We may as well give up on the weak attempts to cut down carbon emmissions, and get ready for the coming disaster.  According to more conservative scientists we have 50 years to save the planet – but that will be a huge task.

So here’s the question – one of the reasons I bang on about climate change is that I fear it will have terrible implications for the poor of the world – but will this really be the case?

If millions of people are to die in the next century, will they be those who are used to living in poverty and hunger, with the spectre of disease hanging over them all the time?  Or will they be those used only to living in comfort, with no experience of finding their own food, living out doors, having limited access to healthcare?

Could it be that the vulnerable ones are those of us in the west?  Somehow I doubt its as simple as that, for a start there will be the most significant rise in disease and desertification in the hotter parts of the world, and that doesnt apply to us.  But it does make you think though…  no oil, a breakdown in the supply chains we’ve always relied upon, a hike in the price of healthcare and basic foodstuffs… not looking good.

Kyb should be alright though – he’s learning stick fighting.


3 thoughts on “climate change apocalypse

  1. The people climate change will hit worst will be determined by geography. Countries with desert will have their deserts increase (although if they could develop to the point where they become exporters of solar generated energy, perhaps they would have something useful to trade for food). The food growing areas of the world will move northwards. In fact, I expect that Canada and parts of Europe and northern Asia will get climates better suited to growing food.

    What this means is that the areas able to support high population density will move. Since it’s hard to move a city, and rising sea levels will threaten coastal cities (most of the big ones) there will be wars fought over space, food and fresh water. We’re likely to see a resurgence in racism in the countries that benefit from the change (since they couldn’t possibly provide for all the people who want to move there).

    I expect China will invade Russia – so much land unused right next to an increasingly overcrowded country will inevitably lead to tension. This will change the nature of international politics such that invasion of poor countries by wealthy countries is considered more acceptable.

    The wealthy world will suffer a significant drop in quality of life – with energy costs increasing, food costs increasing, water costs increasing, and having to bear the cost of shore defenses for cities they are not prepared to loose. Poor countries will simply let them slide into the sea and start again.

    As the relative value of food (something eastern countries generally provide) and fresh water increases, so the relative value of things that the west produces will diminish.

    The kind of lifestyle you’re suggesting will be useful to those in the west would not be accessible to those living in most European countries – the population density is too high. Having said that, we have a lot of unused food production capacity, and intensive farming could make Europe much closer to food-independent.

    The main reason that the wealthy countries will be better placed than poor countries to survive is not because they’re all placed in areas less affected by climate change – it’s because they’re more able to use military might to gain advantage in the changing conditions.

  2. Didn’t manage to find a good stick fighting course, and I’m a slave to formal education when it comes to things like this….

    Anyway, I’ve recently decided that the most valuable thing in case of the breakdown of civilisation (apart from the obvious machete and firestarting equipment) is a mountain bike.

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