Over the last couple of weeks I've been having a very interesting discussion on a forum I frequent about climate change, sparked by this article on the unusual phenomenon of global dimming.
It's a doubly concerning subject now, since a paper is due to be published today that reports that we may be less than 10 years from doing irrepairable damage to the climate. When you think of all the money being thrown away on the "War On Terror" - billions upon billions of dollars (Bush asked for another $80 billion today) - doesn't it suddenly become fairly fucking obvious that as a race we need to stop bickering and concentrate on the one thing that will likely kill us all, no matter what our colour, race, creed or religion?
For the last 20 years and more, scientists have been warning of the dangers of global warming, yet the politicians have done nothing - barring appeasing the Energy Lobby and ensuring that we burn more fossil fuel year on year. Now it seems that this isn't a problem we can simply leave for the grand-kids to clean up. If nothing radical is done NOW, climate change may be something that will come back to haunt people within my lifetime, let alone before today's babies think about having children of their own.
With extreme weather becoming more and more frequent, such as with the Boscastle and Carlisle floodings within the last 6 months alone, it should be obvious even to non-rabid environmentalists that the $300 billion or so spent to date waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last few years perhaps could have been used a little more wisely...
The War On Terror does nothing to safeguard our future. It simply fosters division and hatred, whilst securing the supply of more yet oil, which the petrol-hungry average American SUV driver can burn into CO2 at 15 miles per gallon, further endangering us all.
The undeniably tragic deaths of just over 3,000 people on the 11th of September 2001 sparked it into unprecedented action against an insidious foe that cannot be eradicated through force of arms. The USA is not so much a sleeping giant, as a dinosaur - it lumbered ineffectually into action in pure stimulous-response. Yet the consequences of waiting until the first catastrophy brought about by global warming could cost far more lives than those lost on 9/11.
With countries like the Maldives, the Netherlands and Bangladesh having their populations living mostly either below sea level, or just a metre or two above sea level, the effects of global warming could be calamatous. Yet, if like 9/11, we ignore the warning signs and react to the problem like a dinosaur, will it be too late? Will we simply join them as an evolutionary dead end, waiting to be dug up in a few hundred million years?