Thursday, July 4, 2013

“We Are Sleepwalking To Disaster . . " *

Many in the blogosphere are doing a stellar job covering the climate-change beat, including The Disaffected Lib, who has had several recent thought-provoking posts on the subject. So I really have nothing new or insightful to add, other than to draw your attention to a story covered in today's Star, written by its environment reporter, Raveena Aulakh.

Writing her story around a new report released by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization covering the world's climate from 2001-2010, Aulakh reports the following:

It was the warmest decade for both hemispheres.

There was a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and an accelerating loss of net mass from Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

Sea levels rose about 3 millimetres annually, twice the 20th-century rate.

Deaths from heatwaves increased dramatically to 136,000, compared with fewer than 6,000 deaths in the previous decade.

The average global temperature was 14.47 C, which is 0.21 degree warmer than 1991-2000.

Almost 94 per cent of countries logged their warmest 10 years on record.

Rising sea levels, acidification of oceans, and glacial melting at a rate far faster than had been anticipated in earlier models - it would seem that we have entered into a kind of recursive loop that will be very difficult, indeed, impossible to break, if all of our politicians continue to shy away from both the financial and political capital expenditures required, and we continue our personal complicity in that inaction.

My wife often opines that the human race is turning out to be a failed experiment. It is a perspective I have long resisted, but I am beginning to think she is correct. Our collective capacity to ignore the obvious and shy away from remediation, even while the world both burns and drowns, seems ample testament to our monumental failure as a species.

* John Smol, a researcher on environmental change at Queen’s University.


  1. I used to think that Mark Twain was too hard on the human race, Lorne. But I'm beginning to think that he -- and your wife -- were both right.