This week the IPCC produced its 4th report, and this follows the major Stern report looking at economics consequences. The IPCC is an important advisory report as it deals with the largest set of scientists ever assembled on a project. It models the impacts and the natural science data which we believes forms an integral part of green economics, and indeed we do not see how current neo classical economics can be in the business of economics forecasting without factoring these issues in.
For example todays Independent newspaper predicts that a rise of 6.4 degrees centrigrade in global average temperatures could wipe out most humans and leave a few individuals scratching about at the North Poles, much as this weeks pictures of forelorn looking polar bears as the very icefields they live on melt away leaving them actually stranded and drowning.
It would also make agriculure impossible and this means that our so called " civilisation " which it could be argued got us into this mess, is now headed for extinction and disaster. One of the problems is that scientists wanting business as usual, have allowed a complacency at stabilisation rates of 550 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere, with a sea level rise of 88cm rise, possibly by 2100. Since the last ice ages only had a mean temperature difference between an ice age and an interglacial was only 5 degrees centigrade and the flip was fast, then a rise of 6.4 degrees would mean the end of just about everything we understand including the land masses and atlases of the world.
. I do hear people saying that global warming would be rather nice, the country might be a bit hotter, or that we can afford to wait 14 years before we do anything as we can claw back the situation. I think it is fairly clear that far from "a nice pleasant bit of global warming" and a bit more sunshine, we are actually looking at a much colder UK as the Gulf Stream switches off and general havoc with all the ocean currents including El Nino, as well as huge and devastating storms, sea surges, and sea level rises, as well as disease advances,crop failures, mega hurricanes, and other pressures on displacement of people and mega- cities.
As a result it seems that no one should be complacent, and that green economics needs to move fast to a scenario where new forms of " civilisation " are quickly hatched out, in fact " civilisation" the move to the towns, is the first thing that needs urgent investigation. We need to urgently get back in step with what the planet can maintain and if we are not careful we are going to be one of the shortest lived guests on the planet, and we will make the dinosaurs look like they had a much firmer grip on reality than we do!
I urge everyone to consider their own economics impacts, and to ensure that equity and social and environmental justice prevails, and to do just one thing differently from today, and to spread the word.
Markl Lynas is in the Independant today arguing that in a 6 degree warmer world,thet last time was the Permian mass extinction and in the cretaceous period there was no ice at the poles, the oceans were hot, and crocodiles swam in the polar waters, and deserts extended into Europe, and most areas of the planet would be completely unihabitable with the Amazon burnt up in smoke within 50 years. People would be even further displaced than at present and large parts of costal cities would be submerged, such as Tokyo and London.
Therefore I urge everyone to get copies of the IPCC report and to digest their meaning and message, make no mistake at all, now is the time to act- there is no longer 15 years, islands are already dissapearing under the sea just as predicted by the modellers, we are doing this to ourselves. We cannot survive on another planet, it does not need us but we need it, and only by responsible sharing of its goodies with each other and nature are we going to be able to have a future economy of any kind.
Put pressure on public figures, and do what you can to turn this round
Miriam Kennet February 2007