Climate Change – Part 3: Implications and Predictions for the Future

Part three of a three-part series.

If the ice sheets over Greenland and Antarctica were to collapse and melt entirely, the sea level would increase by 200 feet. And if the present warming continues, 200-300 years from now, the Earth again will be free of ice, and sea levels will return to 240 feet higher than present. Of course that's a long time from now. But is it?

Warmer temperatures also dry out the soil faster. The portion of the American West, specifically the area west of the 100th Meridian that receives twenty inches or less of rain annually, has moved nearly 140 miles to the east in the last thirty years. If temperatures continue to increase, within 100 years, the Midwestern bread basket of the US would be significantly less fertile, which would affect agriculture and the economy.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in 2013 that continued fossil fuel emissions will cause sea levels to rise between one foot and three feet by 2100. These are twice as high as projections by other scientists. Extreme climate change could result in 100 million people pushed down to "extreme poverty" by 2030, based on disrupted agriculture and the spread of malaria and other diseases.

Certainly a two-hundred feet increase in sea levels is a movie-style catastrophe. However on a more practical basis, a five-to-ten foot increase would drown many major cities including New Orleans, Miami, and much of NYC. Many other metropolitan centers worldwide, cities that grew as major seaports, would be devastated. Before the crisis reached that level, the evacuation of many of the Earth's greatest cities would produce millions of refugees and almost unimaginable financial costs. Before that level of chaos occurred, the cities would become largely unlivable due to storm surges and water contamination to sewage and water treatment facilities. Street flooding would make commuting difficult to impossible at times.

There are clear warnings that the ice sheets have entered a phase of dangerous and unknown instability. In Antarctica, two enormous glaciers, "Pine Island" and "Thwaites," sit on a ridge of solid land below sea level. Both are becoming unstable due to the increased temperature of the sea water, and could disintegrate by calving ice bergs so large that a four foot increase in sea level would result.

What would we see in everyday life as these phenomena continue?

(1) Water increasingly will creep into basements of coastal cities.

(2) Water will appear in streets as it will not drain off as the drainage systems increasingly will be backed up.

(3) Brine infiltration of drinking water supplies and sewage plants will occur.

(4) Electrical grids will "spark out" and  default more frequently.

(5) Flood insurance will become too expensive and then will be unavailable in more areas.

(6) Home values will plummet in affected areas, and homes will be abandoned in the most critical regions.

(7) Large scale evacuations and population movement will take place in a number of cities worldwide, including NYC, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hamburg, portions of the Netherlands, Norfolk, etc.

Today, in vivid display we watch stress and social turmoil result as twenty million refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern war zones and African counties reeling from conflict and drought form a human diaspora. Native populations on the receiving end of this migration recoil and nationalistic leaders move to protectionism when demographic fears and resulting economic pressures envelop a population. This is clear now in many European countries as well as the US and others. These situations get very ugly. It can, and does, happen there, and here.

Climate change is a well known physical dynamic. It is underway. Like it or not, it is happening. To deny it, call it a hoax or whatever, is an simplistic attempt to ameliorate the massive changes. It's a virtual crime against humanity, and only bad things will result as changes in the world order follow if mankind does not work together.

The scale of social disruption worldwide will topple governments.

Cheers. Enjoy life, it's the only one we have.

Jim George


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Author: Reunion, and Contact Sport.



2 Responses

  1. Jim- you're preaching to the choir. To me, its a two prong failure: 1. Failure to avoid overpopulation. Root cause of many problems is due to pressure to water, feed and house too many people. ZPG, as described by Paul Ehrlich in the 60's, needed to be followed then. 2. Failure to change our ways regarding the burning of fossil fuels, and the resultant release of carbon dioxide. Its not too late to save mankind, but the writing is on the wall: things are going to get a lot hotter (on the average) before they get cooler. #2 may actually create #1, but at the cost of a lot of suffering and misery. The Trump administration just today, with their Climate Policy Change regarding automobile emissions, is a blatant step in the wrong direction. I lived in San Jose, California during the 1960's, and I can tell you that most days we could not see the Eastern foothills of the Santa Clara Valley through much of the summer; the air was always too smoggy. Today, seeing the Eastern foothills is normal on all but a few days each summer, and that, IMHO, is directly due to the California emission standards. I don't have to guess at what's been done- I can see it when I go back there. Time to get off the soapbox. Dennis W1UE
  2. Let's assume 100% of the world agrees that the globe is warming. Why do we debate the cause? Whatever the cause that horse is out of the barn. Should we stop all carbon production tomorrow? Let's bring the world to a grinding halt, no more fossil fuels after next Wednesday?China, India and many third world countries will continue to need fuel to sustain their economic growth. For example: There are 910 cars in the US per 1,000 population, China has 154 per 1,000 and India just 50 per 1,000. I'll let you answer the question, what does growth and prosperity in these countries mean, in terms of carbon footprint? The question and debate should be; now that we have global warming how will we deal with it? Here are a few ideas. - Immediately stop residential and commercial development along the coastlines. Jamestown sank into the ocean long ago, but we refuse to learn. - Do agricultural studies to understand who and what are the biggest losers and who and what are the biggest winners. Don't forget, there are some parts of the world, not previously farmable that will become so.There will be a population shift to areas that have been made better due to global warming. How will we deal with that? -Etc... Unless you can have zero population growth, you can't stop this, if indeed carbon is the primary culprit.. BTW, has anyone taken a look at what the carbon footprint target set by the Obama administration looks like. It's roughly the equivalent of today's carbon footprint per capita for Cameroon. Everyone that is ready to give up their comfortable homes, fine running cars, central heat and air and live like folks in Cameroon live, raise your hand. OK I don't think anyone raised their hand. We can debate this over and over and over again, while the real problem of how to deal with what is inevitable goes unaddressed. Then there is this:(some of this is dated, but makes the point) "Now someone has done the calculations for them and found out Obama has the bigger carbon footprint, at 77,894 tons of carbon emitted over the course of the campaign, compared to 58,786 for McCain. By comparison the EPA says the average two-person household emits 5.5 tons a year." A Tesla Model 3 had a higher carbon footprint than a BMW 320i. Look it up. The battery production in the Tesla is the culprit. So global warming advocates who are informed should be slamming Elon Musk rather than hailing him as a climate change hero. There are so many half truths, misconceptions and just plain lies in circulation on this topic that real solutions are hard to come by. Even the champions of carbon reduction don't fully understand what they are asking citizens to do or are blatantly misrepresenting the issue. We need to really understand the problem and make solutions, not debate the cause. Just my 2 cents worth of carbon and forgive the rambling. Mike

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