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Offbeat – 18 Nov 2011

The US is beginning to prepare for the human fallout, climate refugees, and climate and water wars. Perhaps their intelligence assessments will be more telling than in the past. The writing is written in huge letters on a very high wall.
The long dry days are stretching out, endlessly. I am too drained to think well. The heat sucks, and I resent any statement that says that heat is good. Right now, I feel as if I could sacrifice every single environmental principle to achieve a bit of cold air.
As if that is not enough, the stupid television remote makes the air cooler blow hot air. One day I hope to be wealthy enough to afford a swimming pool so that I could jump in every few hours, or even a refrigerated room.
I am going to lay the blame for this at the door of industrialised nations who rely so heavily on carbon emissions to ensure that they have the ability to make enough products so that they can have a ‘high standard of living’. I know it has gotten hotter since I was a kid, and I know it is going to get even hotter before I find my way to some Heaven, which I know will contain large amounts of ice and warm rooms with duvets and books in them,
Step up to the plate all you folks who claim you have achieved civilisation and prosperity by virtue of your pollution. May your homes be drowned in drifts of fast food wrappers. May your cities be swamped by the melting ice which you so assiduously deny. May your lungs rot in the miasma of your toxic emissions which you so vigorously defend.
Did I mention that my mother died on a day just two degrees hotter than today? Does the term ‘two degrees’ ring a bell? That’s the target humanity will miss as it jockeys for emissions.
I think I need to go outside and have a cigarette to calm down. Please don’t complain about this minor rebellion. Think of any silence as an expression of a sense of proportion. People who resent cigarettes are usually the ones who have multiple large cars for a single family. I breathe their multiple fumes, and watch them as they leave their cars idling in parking lots.
No doubt, by now, the treehuggers’ eyes will be misting over with the prospect of solar energy at this point. They won’t be thinking too hard about the cost of batteries, the indirect environmental cost of producing those batteries, or that the sun isn’t there for a good chunk of the day. Go ahead and dream on. Sometimes faith is all we have to hang on to.
The two degree limit to an increase in global warming is a matter of faith as well. It is purely an average, which means it gets hotter somewhere and slightly less hot somewhere else. Scientists have acknowledged that nobody is entirely certain where the measure came from. It doesn’t matter if the borders of the environmental apocalypse are ill-defined: the battle appears to have been lost anyway. Here’s a roundup of some recent items in the media.
New York will probably be regularly swamped in the space of about a decade. That’s no great shakes. It happens in south-east Asia regularly now. Perhaps some wit will rename the Big Apple, the ‘Big Apple Juice’.
The US is beginning to prepare for the human fallout, climate refugees, and climate and water wars. Perhaps their intelligence assessments will be more telling than in the past. The writing is written in huge letters on a very high wall.
And in really shocking news, maize crops are threatened by the rising heat. Just like the reefs, it appears that these crops only produce in a very narrow range of temperatures. Say goodbye to mealies on the braai and mealiepap for breakfast. Say goodbye to cornflakes.
Two years ago, James Lovelock, the scientist who developed the Gaia model, noted that any initiative we take to prevent climate change is akin to ‘rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic’. The mere fact that the jockeying for emission rights continues, even now, underscores the fact that the battle has been lost as humanity debates whether it was happening or not.
The cynicism of the losers is justified. I hope those who dismissed it though, have guilty, sleepless nights. What remains is the hateful, baking summers, famine and the struggle of the vulnerable to survive. The future doesn’t look bright, just hot and sweaty.

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