HEAT WAVES AND IPCC FILTERING. THE LATEST WEATHER WARNING

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Nearly 50 degrees on the west coast of Canada.


Records everywhere, and at the same time, a leak to the press, a sneak preview, of part of a major report on the climate crisis. I don't believe too much in coincidences.

In Lytton, Canada, 49.6º was recorded at the end of June, during a historic heat wave that has caused a fire in the area, which has ended up wiping the population off the map. Other records were also beaten during those days in many cities as disparate as Seattle, Moscow or Benni Abbes in Tunisia.

Climate change is no longer denied by anyone. Or at least no one who thinks about anything other than their own benefit, except for the sad exception of those people who let themselves be manipulated by them.


According to a recent study by Yale University, more than 90% of people surveyed around the world assume that climate change is a real and very serious problem. Unfortunately there is still some doubt about two crucial issues.

The first issue is that a third or more of society does not believe that human activities are primarily responsible for the climate chaos in most countries. In Indonesia, the most serious case, this percentage would be more than 80%. Really incredible for the current knowledge, which does not admit any doubt about it. Natural phenomena not only have nothing to do with it, they are helping us.

Just as there were fires before man even existed, and now there are fires of both types - caused and natural - of course there have been many previous climate changes caused by the interaction of orbital cycles or Milankovitch cycles with the carbon cycle. But this one in particular, is undoubtedly being caused by anthropogenic emissions, as evidenced by the fact that following these same "astronomical cycles" or orbital variations, if it were not for the barbarity of greenhouse gases that we have emitted into the atmosphere, right now we would be heading towards a rather cold period, not one of dangerous thaws and 50 degrees south of Canada. In other words, the natural cycles are playing in our favour, otherwise everything would be much worse than it already is.

The other key issue is how to react to the problem. Some advocate simple reforms, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which do not renounce Capitalism, and therefore growth (SDGs). Meanwhile, others clearly advocate - supported by science - that there is no way to decouple growth from the use of materials and energy. The dematerialization of the economy is magical thinking. And it is only possible in some graphs manipulated by the relocation of part of the production to other countries to disguise pollution data. And that in the end are simple stupidities, the atmosphere has no borders and pollution ends up being distributed and affecting everyone.

However, to be very clear, there are not only doubts here, there are interests that seek to feed those doubts in order not to lose privileges.


The companies that used to spend millions to deny that climate change even existed, now - that the elephant in the room can no longer be covered up - seek to promote those doubts about the origin, stressing that the earth has always changed, that it's not that bad, etc.

In the magnificent book Merchants of Doubt Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway tell this story through the analogy of the tobacco industry, and how it was dedicated to fund studies that were favorable to him even going against all known science . Another great book that speaks to these issues is Nathaniel Rich's Losing the Earth, originally published in The New York Times, which tells the story of the crucial decade of the 1980s, by which time we had all the facts to understand the risk of continuing to ignore climate science. At least for the survival of our civilization as we know it. Because, as the leaked IPCC Panel II report now relates: "Life on Earth can recover from major climate change by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems. Humanity cannot.


And the IPCC, due to its internal functioning, tends to be always corrected for the worse, it tends to err on the side of conservatism, since it is not in vain that it has to reach a consensus on a series of positions among the scientists who voluntarily collaborate in the report (increasing its prestige, not its income). That is to say, the most daring opinions are usually left aside.That is why they usually fall short in their diagnosis much more than the opposite.

And we have a big problem because the leak - and all the leading scientific literature on tipping points - points to the fact that the global climate point of no return may be very close to being passed (if it hasn't already been passed), because there are a number of positive feedback mechanisms that mean that if one of the crucial subsystems of climate functioning is destabilized, the whole chain is affected . This is very easy to understand with an analogy to the human body, if your liver fails, the kidneys will be affected, that will affect the stomach or the heart, and multi-organ failure would be the last and fatal scenario.

The path could - most likely - be as follows, warming affects the poles much more than the rest of the planet due to the phenomenon of polar amplification. -that is, that albedo among other mechanisms cause more warming where ice is lost-, the Arctic is thawing so fast, that the cold water is affecting the thermohaline circulation (AMOC), and may even paralyze it. The melting ice is causing the earth to begin to emit more methane into the atmosphere, which was stored for thousands of years in the permafrost, and it is doing so at a speed that can make the process unstoppable. And there are other more complex mechanisms that interact with the Amazon -which may turn into savannah- or the phenomena of El Niño (ENSO) and La Niña, which are going to see their frequency and intensity increase, such as heat waves, hurricanes, etc. In other words, goodbye, climate stability. The worst scenario, and not at all improbable, is the so-called Hothouse Earth, in which the inertias would take us to a new unbalanced state several degrees above pre-industrial temperatures, and in which no certainty about life remains unquestionable.

Faced with this situation, the only alternative is to make the population radically ecologically literate, so that they understand the necessary and inevitable changes that are going to happen.

The only thing we can choose is whether we wait for them to happen, through shocks and crises, or at least try to plan a response that will help us through a historical period that in any case will not be easy.

About the Author

Juan Bordera

Journalist and Content creator.

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