Friday, 1 May 2015

What if climate change is real?

I pose this question, not because I do not believe climate change is occurring, not because I do not believe the average global temperature is rising and not because I do not believe man is having an influence. I pose the question, as I think it is something we as humans need to very carefully think about.

The biggest problem about climate change to me is this. We as humans are pretty adept at improvising our environments and we are pretty adept at obtaining resources. However, compared to the other animals on this planet we are pretty darn useless. It is in our capabilities as humans and the innovative ideas we have that we are also exposing ourselves to problems we may not be able to tolerate. For example, about 100 years we did not have air conditioning. It is due to these innovations that we have been able to live in warmer and colder climates. Thereby we have increased our reach and resources available to us. However, without these innovations that would not be possible. Most humans cannot tolerate warm and cold weather even if the temperature swings are not large. So the question arises, what if it gets extreme? We have seen how we respond to massive Hurricanes, with the rebuilding efforts and the stronger storm walls. We have seen how we respond to dwindling food resources, when we go towards commercial farming. But what happens when it is no longer feasible and a whole population gets displaced? Where do they go, or where do they get food when another food producing region likewise ends up as a dessert? BTW, if you are a hippie, you need to face the facts that free range farming is not feasible with the current world population.

One example of the problems climate change can cause has recently been highlighted with Ice Core researchers losing data as the ice cores are no longer stable. While this may not seem like a big issue, it really is as without our history we have no way of understanding our future. It also goes to show this warming is unprecedented, as if it was not these cores would not exist in the first place.

So what will happen with climate change? The honest answer is we have no idea, although the evidence of likelihoods (such as biodiversity loss) is increasing. The question we should be asking is this though, do we want to find out? I realize this is many what if questions and not all solid fact. But we should certainly take time to pause and consider that while other animals may adapt to these changes, we may not be so lucky.