The 28th of September the Natural History Museum in Stockholm, Sweden opened its climate exhibition to the public. The day before, researchers, corporate representatives, politicians and Non-Government Agencies gathered to spend the day focusing on how best to meet the challenge of climate change. The researchers are in agreement: man-made emissions are seriously affecting climate, and the changes will be mostly negative for all – yet it is difficult to get this over to people in general. If we do nothing the consequences could be disastrous.
Picture: outside museum display of bus shelter in sub-artic conditions
Researchers are in agreement that the 84% increase in consumption of energy and materials between 1970 and 1997 explains the rapid increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. Since the beginning of time, the level of CO2 has never risen past 270ppmV. Today it is at 360ppmV and rising. To contribute this increase, man has depleted 40% of all oil reserves on the planet – in just 150 years.
This increase, resulting in Global Warming, will bring more rainfall in most places except those dry areas which will become hotter and dryer. This in turn will produce extreme weather – storms, floods, hot spells etc.
The increase in the harshness of conditions will drive people from their homes, drive up insurance costs for floods, hurricane damage etc. and fuel negative effects of climate on health. This includes Malaria in Europe, heatstroke in Spain and France, spoiled food and crops and spread of other tropical diseases in Europe.
We cannot find a thermostat in the Earth’s climate system that can counteract man’s activity. Either we turn the heat down or suffer the consequences. Looking for ballpark figures to aim for? Reduce all consumption in the developed world to a quarter of what it is today. For fairness, underdeveloped countries can double theirs.
See the next post to get a view of the exercise to create solutions.