Going beyond 1.5C. Our world and daily life behind the IPCC report.
Cause & Consequence. Life on Earth laid bare.
But before we head on over to the meaty real-life data of our reckless modern day life, which the 2018 IPCC report painfully laid bare, walk with me as I step out on frosty cold northern shores for my morning walk, because, that too is part of actually being alive.
Just a Thursday, spent on northern shores.
Yes, I know, right in the now, when I am about to click the ‘ready to publish’ button, its actually Friday morning here in Scandinavia, but when I experienced this day, hours before I finished up writing this piece for my other home ‘a norse view’ it was a gorgeous autumn Thursday.
And this is the way I started this gorgeous little day.
My day started with a long walk down to our stony beach together with the rising Autumn sun which painted the world with frost and thick dew to keep my feet company as I walked across the cold Earth and the frozen auburn colors that lay like splattered leaves down on the ground as much as they still painted the forest and the flowing hills and lakes in all sorts of Earthly wonders and warming colors.
Before soon, I sat kneeling on the old Norse rocks that formed our beach and watched them stretch out in a slowly moving silence into the coldness of this ancient lake.
And I witnessed, our seasonal pair of white swans which return each year to dine and wine, and give birth now and then to a new breed of white swans.
I indulged in their beauty as they swam out there, beyond our birch tree island, and not a single word or sound could be heard with the rare exception of the chattering squirrels which at times revealed their secret positions to me.
Squirrels which remained hidden out of sight as they walked and climbed and ran across their leafy kingdom and branches and trunks high up in the trees that towered me.
Every now and then, they paused their chatter only to toss another golden treasure down to the ground, down to the realm of this northern wolf that sat hunkered down in silence, on their stony beach.
Sitting here, on our beach, I took this morning in, every last breath of it.
Like clouds that slowly disintegrate into transparent whiteness, I felt the stillness of the swaying gentle breeze which the world gently brushed against the coldness and thickness of the water, I drank the darkness of our Nordic lakes, and the slowness of this body of water that still laid open, yet slowly, day by day it inches closer to its own freezing point.
I marveled, at the silence of this world, its sheer beauty and life-giving tranquility.
Art at its most precious is art that is bred and born by the natural world itself. and this morning, I drank its cup to the brim.
At rare times, I raised my Nikon up to my eye and caught the moments I so greatly enjoyed, I caught them with the press of a button, and preserved them intact for decades and centuries to come.
And once I was done, drinking from life´s very own fountain of youth, I walked back home.
And once back home.
I undressed you.
2050AD, the ugliness of humanity.
[ Oceans run the risk of having more total weight of plastic than fish.]
But, now that you have dipped your toes in my morning adventure, let us open our eyes to the digital folders of the latest IPCC study as we spread its zeroes and ones all over our kitchen floor and table. And for a brief few moments, let us zone in on this particular moment in history.
Let the words and numbers sink in, and resist the urge to close your minds to the truth you know that it portrays.
Because, unlike so many other years and studies, the time is well past brushing things over, the time to neglect the hard simple truths of this world and our present-day Anthropocene and the way we hominids have abused this planet and our own health for far too long, well, that time is over.
There is a time for conversation and reflections, and there is a time for actual change and action, and the moment for actual change is now.
Not because I say so, but due to the necessity of our every day reality.
We know that almost every single mammal on this planet is either a human being or cattle which we breed for food. And the same can be said for the number of birds. People and agricultural animals out do the actual wild bird and mammals with ease, and is there not something truly wrong with that man-made reality?.
But perhaps, that is not enough for you?.
And perhaps you are still asking ‘Why’?
And this is the why.
Because we are not living in a world where we can realistically stay below 1,5C degrees, that sad data point is already a missed opportunity. And the way we are still doing life on this planet will send us beyond 1,5C, and none of this will happen in a far away distant future. It´s not an issue for future generations. Our way of life in the Anthropocene will send us beyond 1,5C in just a few years.
Right here and now.
In fact, we have already gone beyond 1,0C. And the upward trajectory is not going to stop by itself, we are the only ones that can right the wrongs we have created.
However, with that said, the issue is not the rising temperature itself, nor are we at all talking about the natural fluctuation in our local and global climate. So get that out of your head right away.
A temporary 1C temperature increase itself is for most people and species in this world a fairly non-eventful change. And for a brief few moments, a slight temperature increase might even be beneficial locally speaking. Problem is, we are not talking about a temporary, local temperature increase, we are talking about a persistent global temperature increase compared to pre-industrial times, and a very rapid increase too (rapid as far as a planet is concerned ).
So focus less on the actual number on our global temperature scale and look beyond it at the cause and consequences of our rising planetary temp. Why is the temperature increasing, and what are the global and local consequences of the underlying issues and the changes around our world that is causing this rapid uptick in global temperatures.
Numbers & facts.
Right now, we have already moved beyond a global 1.0C temperature increase compared to pre-industrial times.
So, when people talk about a 1.5C increase and what we need to do in order to stay below 1.5C, we are not talking about a distant future, because we only have 0.5C left in the tank before we move beyond 1.5C, and that will happen in just a few years time.
Worse, we will without a doubt not be able to stay below that 1.5C increase, even if we change quite a lot of things about the way we do modern day life.
So, what´s next?.
The next goal post is 2.0C above pre-industrial times, something we are already half way too surpassing. And this too will happen much, much quicker than anyone would like. The good news is that we can stay below 2.0C, if we change our way of life from the ground up and build a much much more sustainable society, across the entire world.
This is perfectly doable.
But it does not give room for Australia or the USA, Germany, or Canada, or any other country, to keep using coal and tar sand energy facilities, nor any other fossil fuel based energy solution. And keep in mind, that the difference between landing around a 1.5C temperature increase and flatlining roughly at 2.0C is not a linear difference. The exponential consequences for our planet and way of life will be severely different.
1.5C is not fun at all, but it is a world we can cope with, which is fortunate because that 1.5C world is just a handful of years away from being our everyday reality.
All while a 2.0C increase, even tho its just one more C above today’s levels, well, that is something we absolutely do not want to experience.
And down below we´ll take a look at just why that is.
“Already to get to less than 2C will be [a] quite unimaginable, unprecedented scale of collaboration.”
Van Beurden, Shell chief executive
Why is a person working for one of the worst fossil fuel offenders in the world saying something like that? Because the facts behind climate change and our dire need for a sustainable world are true. We need to change our entire way of life, globally, just to stay below 2.0c, and Shell, while they have persisted to live and die on harming our planetary and personal health to keep on producing fossil fuel, knows this very well.
Shell is one of the companies that´s known about the dangers of fossil fuel for decades.
And as blindfolded as Shell has allowed themselves to be, even they know very well that the time for a massive change to our way of life is right at our doorsteps in this very moment. And Shell knows that it is a dire, essential change. Sustainable is simply the way forward for Shell now, making that change now is as essential for life on this planet as it is for Shell’s financial future.
Let us talk more numbers.
2.0C will give us a world that´s lost more than 99% of the coral reefs we have right now. And while you might not care at all about the oceans wellbeing, something inside your marvelous brain should tell you that such a gigantic global change has to have major implications for every other aspect of life on this planet too. Right?. Yes, you are right, dropping 90+% of our global coral reefs, that’s plenty bad and just one litle signal of how much else will change in incredibly bad ways.
Did you know that red meat consumption needs to drop with 90% compared to the amount of red meat the western world is consuming per person and year.
90%. Yup, that includes you, and every restaurant out there, every public facility, hospital, school, and workplace. We all need to drop our red meat consumption with 90% in order to reach that sub 2.0C goal post. And yes, red meat lover, that is how bad the consumption and production of red meat is for your personal health and for the health of this entire planet.
Which obviously means that every cattle farmer out there, and dairy farmer too need to change the way they produce their food and their living. And that means that society, worldwide, has to facilitate that change for all those farmers. Talk is cheap and change is needed.
“Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,”
“Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.”
Professor Johan Rockström, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
Why exactly is red meat production and consumption so bad?
Well, I have written countless of health and fitness articles about the increase in cancer, the reduction in lifespan and so forth. Add to that, the soil degradation, the run-off pollution every cattle and dairy farm produces, the various emissions that entire sector produces, and the insane land mass that the red meat and dairy industry lay claims too in order to produce far less calories than they consume. The freshwater usage (in a freshwater-deprived world ) and so forth.
And the act of eating and producing red meat does not compute anymore.
The numbers do not add up at all, and like with every other business out there, when your numbers are perpetually getting worse you have to change the way you do life.
And that is the situation for our global way of life. The numbers do not work anymore, and the lie that everything will be ok despite not fixing the issues with our way of life, that lie has come to an abrupt end. In fact, that lie has smashed head first into the concrete wall.
And with increasing worldwide temperatures, there will be a severe increase in drought ( which everybody knows, is already bad enough as it is across most regions of the world, including Europe, Australia, Asia and North America ). There will be even more storms, floods and heat waves. And plenty of plant and wildlife will face an even harder time coping with things, just like that 99% reduction of coral reefs in other words.
Already, Europe has seen a gigantic decrease in flying insects and birds last 30 years or so, and this will only continue to get worse.
Which, obviously, includes a further reduction of pollinating insects. Which means that our crops will face an even bigger challenge. Fewer crops equal less food for a growing number of people. Which equals more starvation, pain, misery, malnourished and eventually dead people. In fact, once we get closer to 2.0C, pollinating insects will be roughly twice as likely to lose half of their current habitats, and they have already been severely reduced as the world is closing in on 1.5C. And this is not just about temperature, its about our way of life and the way we pollute nature and produce food.
So, what is the scale of all this?
Going above 1.5C and closer to 2.0C or beyond, will not impact just a few thousand people, or even hundreds of thousands of people.
Nor are we talking about tens of millions of poor sods that will suffer the negative impact of life at 2.0C.
Not even one hundred million people or two hundred million people are enough.
The negative impact of living on planet Earth at or near 2.0C will be felt by billions of people. So, proclaiming that your personal life will not be impacted by not doing everything you can to go sustainable does not fly. Your life will be negatively impacted by every single person that refused to change. It might be more or less than someone living at another location or country. But you will be affected, and it will be in a negative way.
The way forward for all of us is in other words, not about doing life the destructive, reckless way we always have. The way forward, for all of us, lies in going way more sustainable and incredibly much more plant-based, and that road forward is paved by people that´s becoming a little bit more healthy fit in their daily life, and all this needs to be powered by the entire world making sure that it is powered by clean health promoting energy.
Science is the subject of knowledge that covers life on Earth and beyond, as it actually is.
You see, none of this ( IPCC, climate change, going plant-based and sustainable, the toll of sedentary living et cetera. ) has to do with political leanings and personal opinions.
You can vote left, green, middle or right. You can vote for MP or S here in Sweden, or M, or C, or L. You can even vote for SD and their reckless Donald Trump wannabe of a leader. Because this is not about political ideas and party colors.
This is about life on Earth as it actually is.
So, vote and act on the change that we are all depending on.
There is truly nothing wrong to vote Republican or Democrat if you are living in the USA. Politics is about context and the way our life is progressing right in the now. And unlike the fairy tale of religion what is the right party and person will change depending on the people in charge and the way they go about actually doing life. But what is wrong and dangerous is to allow a person such as Donald Trump to lead your nation down a road that we know will harm life and health of every single human being and critter on this entire planet.
And that is what Donald Trump and every other politician on this planet are doing when they propose that we stay our course and keep on doing life the destructive, reckless way we have since the industrialization started.
And that blind greed and selfishness is what propels them to a public threat. Not because of their political leanings and words, but because of the actual things that they are doing.
People like Donald Trump are entitled to their personal opinions, but that right can never be allowed to disregard reality. Nor does it change that they, by order of their political choices, represent a threat to my health, to their own health, to your health, the health of their voters and family. In short, Donald Trump and other fossil fuel lovers like him remain a public threat to all of humanity, globally and locally.
And pointing that out has nothing to do with politics or opinions, it is a simple fact.
It is a fact that is born from their refusal to accept science and life as it actually is.
It is a fact based on their disregard for logical reasoning, facts and science and cause, and consequences. It is a fact that is born in the fact-denying behavior of leaders like Trump that keep refuting facts of life and education, fact-checking, journalists and thinkers, all while such leaders point to the perceived “importance of blind faith” ( ie: religion ). It does not matter where you live, what gender you have, the color of your skin, culture or religion. Nor can the size of your bank account, or the popularity of your social media account change that people like Trump represent a danger to all of us through the destruction of this planet that they are insisting on.
Nor can the size of your bank account, or the popularity of your social media account change that people like Trump represent a danger to all of us through the destruction of this planet that they are insisting on.
And the only way for anyone of us to help save this planet, our own health and the health of those blind and ignorant people is to educate them better, to educate that blind and reckless and selfish liar of a president. To educate him and every other blind politician like him, and to demand real changes now instead of just asking for future changes.
The Necessary changes.
The necessary changes that we need to make right now, in our current day and time are global. And they are so vast and encompassing that there isn’t a single household, corporation, country or entity that can avoid doing them. From the food, we eat to the way we produce that food. The cars we drive, the way we build buildings, the way we travel, the way we consume, the way we live. Transportation, litter, lakes, and oceans. Landslides, cars and phones. Healthcare and fitness. Everything from the act of eating to being sedentary needs to be made much more healthy, fit and sustainable.
Everything on this planet needs to be technically speaking upgraded to something smarter, better, healthier, cleaner and much more sustainable.
The difference between a 1.5C world (which we can already see will be unpleasant enough ) and 2.0C will expose water stress to billions more people at 2C.
Food scarcity will exponentially increase the closer we get to 2.0C, and climate-related poverty will increase in substantial numbers. But keep in mind, all of this will happen at 1.5C too, in fact, all of this is already happening, it´s just that the closer we get to 1.5C first, and 2.0C beyond that, things will only get exponentially worse.
Outside of our own dinner table and the on and off empty water tap, countless of species will, like the coral reefs, just vanish from our doorsteps. And we can already see how a warmer world will result in smaller moose and elks. Both in physical size as well as in numbers. And the less moose and elk we get, the fewer predators will survive. And the fewer predators we have in the world, the more vermin.
The more vermin, the fewer crops, and yields for us.
On top of all this is the simpler stuff, such as a scarcity of coffee beans and bananas. A decrease of white birch trees and arctic plants and wildlife.
Monarch butterflies and birds in general. Fish?. Yup you got it. And talking about fish, worldwide, all Oceans are already suffering from increasing acidity and diminished levels of oxygen. Some places like outside the coast of southern USA have produced gigantic dead waters where the lack of oxygen prevents anything from living there.
And 2C, well, once we hit 2.0C the global decline in fish will be twice the decline at 1.5C. And let us not forget how bad fish stocks already are.
And not only is this about pollution in the cattle industry or replacing worthless diesel cars with electric vehicles such as Tesla.
Apples, oranges, potatoes. Wild berries. Water wells. Water safety. Plastic in our oceans. And the number of wild birds.
It´s all connected, and most of it is impacted by man-made choices and actions. No one is even talking about the natural changes in our climate, so this discussion, and article is not at all about the natural fluctuations. It´s about the things we control. We are the reason for oil and coal polluting our world. We are the reason for pesticides destroying our natural plants and wildlife.
700 million birds are killed every year in the USA alone.
We are the reason that 700 million birds get killed in the USA alone by our industries. 700 million birds per year!. We are doing that. Not nature, but us, the human race. And we do not have to do that, we do not need to pollute in order to make money, work and have iPhones.
And it is time that we acknowledge that good food can be healthy, no one needs to eat red meat. And now, you cant. Not due to my opinion, but due to cold hard facts of this solitary planet we are all living on.
But for now, let us return to one sad Donald Trump quote from 2016 which I recently used in another article. Just because it fits this article perfectly well too.
Trump said this while he was talking about wind power being a bad thing for the world.
“The wind kills all your birds,”. “All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”
So, what are the facts of birds and wind power in the USA?
Well, US-based wind turbines do kill an average of 234,000 birds a year, which absolutely need to be reduced in great numbers. But as gigantic as that number is, it pales to nothing when you consider the more than 700 million birds which get killed each year due to other industrial activities in the USA.
But as the public threat, he is, Trump isn’t looking to lower that number, instead, he´s looking to destroy even more regulation that is already doing way too little to protect the planet.
Trump is a wonderful representation of people that ignore facts of life. Everybody can see that we have lost a majority of our wildlife in the last 40 years. We can see it, we can hear it, and we can also read it in cold hard scientific studies. Yet, people like Trump pretend that they do not see it or accept that reality because the reality of life on planet Earth does not fit his narrative anymore. And that is why Trump does not want you to enjoy publically available science either.
Science and facts reveal the lie that Trump and people like him keep selling you.
And that desire of his to make your every day a little bit less healthy than yesterday represents a way towards disaster for all of us, birds, planets, humans, whales, wolves, insects.
If you scroll around in my own and others articles, if you actually look at the world we are all sharing for a while, you´ll encounter articles and facts that display the insurmountable loss of wildlife last 40 years.
But if you are like Trump, none of that will matter, now will it? You will keep your mind and eyes closed to the reality we have created through no other way than our own reckless choices. And that is why our world will soon blast through 1.5C and shortly after 2.0C.
And until Trump and people like him on all sides of the political spectrum decides to accept reality for what it is, and to actually do the things we all need to be doing the situation will only keep getting worse, for you and me, and their own sorry ass too.
There is the issue of plastic litter in our oceans and water bodies. And the big black subject line earlier in the article, proclaiming that Earth will have more mass of plastic litter in our oceans than the actual weight of fish by 2050. Well, that too is a simple fact that is all down to the horrible way we have been doing things ever since the industrialization. We can change it, but only if we all accept basic reality, and that reality is that this is all our fault and it is down to us to change it.
Our oceans aren’t just suffering from plastic litter, however, I recently wrote an article about PCB and killer whales. So let me quote that article.
Today 80% of the PCB we produced and quickly banned is leaking from landfills into the soil and our oceans, and today, being the top predator of the seas, the killer whales are Earths most PCB contaminated species.
Killer whales actually suffer from PCB contamination that´s hundreds of times above safe limits.
The issue is 100% man-made, but we can clean it up and turn things from going completely to hell. And we have too, because I kept the worst thing about our current way of life.
And that is the trajectory of where we will land unless we redo our way of life in a major way, and just how bad is that trajectory?. Well, unless we change our way of life, we will smash beyond 3.0C and by then its anybody’s guess how far things will go and how incredibly bad it will become for life on planet Earth. But knowing what we do, let´s just say that Hominidae would not enjoy life with the dinosaurs, not the dinos themselves and not the way planet Earth behaved back then.
As such, let us hope that no one believes that it is a good choice to keep pretending that none of this is real. Instead, let us face the music and change our way of life.
“The destruction of nature and disappearance of our wildlife is one of the greatest threats facing the human race. And it’s not just about the extinction of rhinos or tigers on the other side of the world. It’s about the disappearing birds, butterflies and other animals on our own doorsteps.”
Tony Juniper, executive director at WWF-UK.
Wake up world.