‘Soon it won’t be recognizable’ says expert: Total climate meltdown is unstoppable Climate crisis

TPublishing Bill McGuire’s latest book, Earth’s greenhouseIt can’t be in time. Coming to stores this week, sweltering customers who have just endured record-high temperatures across the UK and now face the prospect of weeks of drought to add to their annoyance will see them in stores.

And this is only the beginning, insists McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climatic hazards at University College London. As he demonstrates in his relentless depiction of the coming climate catastrophe, we have ignored – for far too long – explicit warnings that rising carbon emissions are dangerously warming the planet. Now we will pay the price for our complacency in the form of storms, floods, droughts, and heat waves that easily exceed current maximums.

The crucial point, he argues, is that there is now no chance of avoiding a perilous and all-out climate collapse. The point of no return is past and we can anticipate a future in which killer heat waves and temperatures over 50°C (120°F) are common in the tropics; Where summers at temperate latitudes are always hot, and where our oceans are warm and acidic. McGuire insists, “A child born in 2020 will face a world more hostile than his grandparents.”

Bill McGuire.
Bill McGuire is Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College London, and has also been an advisor to the UK Government.

In this regard, the volcanologist, who was also a member of the UK Government’s Natural Hazards Working Group, takes an extreme position. Most other climate experts still argue that we have plenty of time, though not much, to achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. And they say a quick move toward net zero and halting global warming is still within our reach.

These allegations were rejected by McGuire. “I know a lot of people working in climate science who say one thing in public but something very different in private. With confidence, they’re all more afraid about the future we face, but they won’t admit it publicly. I call this climate calm and I think it makes things worse The world needs to know how bad things are before we can hope to start addressing the crisis.”

McGuire finished writing Earth’s greenhouse At the end of 2021. He listed several of the record high temperatures that have just hit the planet, including the extremes that hit the UK. A few months after he completed his manuscript, and as publication neared, he found that many of these records had already been broken. “That’s the problem with writing a book on climate breakdown,” McGuire says. “By the time it is published, it is already outdated. That is the speed at which things move.”

Among the records broken during book editing was the announcement of a high temperature 40.3°C was reached in eastern England on 19 July, the highest rate ever recorded in the United Kingdom. (The country’s previous highest temperature, 38.7°C, was in Cambridge in 2019).

In addition, the London Fire Service had to tackle fires across the capital, with one fire destroyed 16 homes in Winnington, East London. The crew there had to fight to save the local fire station itself. “Who would have thought that a village on the edge of London would be nearly wiped out by wildfires in 2022,” McGuire says. “If this country needs an alarm bell, it sure is it.”

Forest fires of unprecedented intensity and ferocity It also swept Europe, North America and Australia this year, while record rainfall in the Midwest has been devastating Floods in Yellowstone National Park, USA. “As we approach 2022, the world is already different,” he adds. “Soon not all of us will be able to recognize him.”

Kurdish farmers fight a fire in a wheat field in northeastern Syria's Hasaka province, which is a breadbasket for the region.
Kurdish farmers fight a fire in a wheat field in northeastern Syria’s Hasaka province, which is a breadbasket for the region. Photo: Dilil Suleiman/AFP/Getty Images

These changes underscore one of the most startling aspects of climate breakdown: the speed with which rising average global temperature translates into extreme weather.

“Just look at what’s really happening to a world that has only warmed by just over a degree,” McGuire says. “It turns out that the climate is changing for the worse much faster than early climate models predicted. This is something that was never expected.”

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, when humanity began pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, global temperatures have risen by just over 1°C. At the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow last year, it was agreed that every effort should be made to try Limit altitude to 1.5°CAlthough this target has been achieved, it has been calculated that global carbon emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030.

“In the real world, that wouldn’t happen,” McGuire says. “Instead, we’re on track for a near 14% increase in emissions by that date – which we’ll almost certainly break the 1.5C barrier in less than a decade.”

We should have no doubts about the consequences. Anything above 1.5°C will see a world suffer extreme summer heat, extreme drought, devastating floods, reduced crop yields, rapidly melting ice sheets, and rising sea levels. McGuire argues that a rise of 2 degrees Celsius and above would seriously threaten the stability of the global community. It should also be noted that according to the most optimistic estimates of emissions reduction pledges made at Cop26, the world is on track to warm between 2.4°C and 3°C.

From this perspective, it is clear that there is little we can do to avoid the coming climate collapse. Instead, we need to adapt to the greenhouse world that lies ahead and start taking action to try to stop the bleak situation from deteriorating further, says McGuire.

Fox Glacier in New Zealand in winter.
Fox Glacier in New Zealand in winter. It fell by 900 million in a decade. Photography: Gabor Kovacs / Alami

Sure enough, as it is, Britain – although it is relatively well positioned to face the worst effects of the upcoming climate collapse – is facing a major headache. Heat waves will become more frequent, get hotter and last longer. The huge numbers of small, poorly insulated, heat-trapped modern British homes will be responsible for thousands of deaths each summer by 2050.

“Despite repeated warnings, hundreds of thousands of these inappropriate homes continue to be built each year,” McGuire adds.

As for why the world responded so tragically late, McGuire blames “a conspiracy of ignorance, insufficiency, poor judgment, obfuscation and lies by climate change deniers that asserted that we have walked asleep to less than half a dangerous 1.5″. c- Climate change protection barrier. Soon, except for some kind of miracle, we’ll smash it.”

The future is forbidden from this perspective, although McGuire contends that if carbon emissions can be drastically reduced in the near future, and if we start to adapt to a hotter world today, a truly catastrophic and unsustainable future can be avoided. The coming days will be darker, but not catastrophic. We may not be able to give a climate breakdown but we can avoid more premiums that would seem like a climate catastrophe bad enough to threaten the very survival of human civilization.

“This is a call to arms,” ​​he says. So if you feel the need to plaster a highway or close an oil refinery, do it. Drive an electric car, or even better, use public transportation, walk or cycle. switch to green energy tariffs; Cut back on meat. Stop flying pressure on your elected representatives at the local and national levels; And use your vote wisely to take over a government speaking out on the climate emergency.”

Hothouse Earth: A Dweller’s Guide By Bill McGuire Published by Icon Books, £9.99

The Gulf Stream is shown on a map showing sea surface temperature
The Gulf Stream, which begins in the Gulf of Mexico and passes through the Atlantic Ocean, is being weakened by climate collapse. Photo: NOAA

stings in the tail

Five unexpected threats posed by pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere

under our feet As the vast and thick ice sheets disappear from the high mountains and from the poles, the once-pressed crusts of rock begin to rebound, threatening to cause earthquakes and tsunamis. “We are on the right track to bequeathing to our children and their children not only a much hotter world, but also a world that is more geologically divided,” says Bill McGuire.

New battlefields As crops burn and hunger spreads, societies come into conflict and the election of populist leaders – who will prepare the land for their people – is likely to become commonplace. Most worrisome are the tensions over dwindling water supplies that are growing between India and Pakistan And China, all of which have atomic weapons. “The last thing we need is a hot war over water between the world’s two nuclear powers,” McGuire notes.

methane bombs Produced by wetlands, livestock, and termites, methane is 86 times more powerful in its ability to heat the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, although fortunately it persists for much less time. The problem is that much of the world’s methane is trapped in layers of permafrost in the Arctic. As this material melts, more methane will be released and our world will get hotter.

Gulf Stream loss As the ice caps melt, cold water from the Arctic threatens to block or divert the Gulf Stream, which carries an enormous amount of heat from the tropics to seas across Europe. Evidence now indicates that the Gulf Stream is already weakening and could shut down completely before the turn of the century, resulting in powerful winter storms over Europe.

calorie crunch Four-fifths of the calories consumed worldwide come from just 10 crop plants including wheat, corn and rice. McGuire says that many of these nutrients will not grow well under the high temperatures that will soon become the norm, suggesting a significant reduction in food availability, which would have a disastrous effect across the planet.