A Review of Past Forecasts – Climate Change
[Note: Many of you know that after doing two years of research on my 7th book “This Spaceship Earth” I took much of 2016 off to co-found and launch a global non-profit https://thisspaceshipearth.org/ Please see a time sensitive request at the bottom of this column for the non-profit. Thank you!]
“Water-access to, use of, conservation of, and cost of-will be one of the most significant issues for humanity by 2018”
Well we aren’t yet into 2018 but it is very clear that water, what is the source of life, is now a top issue facing humanity. Water is used to make every product on Earth. Therefore every business sector depends on water. At a time when thousands of children die every day due to dirty water or lack of water for hygiene it is clear that how Americans use water, the products they buy that use excessive water must all be re-evaluated. In the city I live, Sarasota FL, it takes approximately 16 swimming pools worth of water to keep a lawn green. That is an out of date priority.
The simple fact, that most people don’t think about, is that there is the same amount of fresh water on Earth as there was 1 million years ago. As there was 100 years ago when there were 1.5 billion humans. Now there are 7.5 billion.
“The environmental breakthrough by 2020 will be scalable Atmospheric Cleansing technology”
This is the “moonshot” for dealing with Climate Change. I wrote about this in my 2012 book “Entering the Shift Age”. The reality is that it is not just emissions we have to end, it is the Resident CO2 in the atmosphere that has to be removed. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was 730 gigatonnes. In 1970 it was 830 and in 2015 it was 1230. What most people do not understand is that CO2 can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years if not millennia. There is CO2 in the atmosphere that was put there around the time Columbus discovered America.
The now measured warming of the Earth from 1975 to 2015 is exactly time congruent to the increase of Resident CO2 from 830 to 1230. So it is the constantly increasing tonnage of CO2 that has and will continue to create warming. Atmospheric Cleansing is truly a technology that can save civilization. The good news is that in both Germany and the Netherlands early stage technology is removing CO2 from the atmosphere in small areas. Are you listening Silicon Valley?
“Climate Change triggered rise in ocean levels will create great economic losses globally in the world by 2020
Well, three years to go on this forecast but based upon current levels there are already numerous places in Florida and the eastern seaboard that are having what is called “sunny day flooding”. Current estimates of global losses from flooding in coastal cities are $6-10 billion a year. By 2020 that figure should be at least 50% higher.
After three years of researching, writing and speaking about Climate Change from a This Spaceship Earth perspective, I now see Sea Level Rise as the first reality humans face for not having aggressively dealt with CO2 emissions for the past 40 years. If all greenhouse gases stopped being released into the atmosphere this week, we would still have 2-4 feet of SLR between now and 2050. Unfortunate but already set in motion. Done.
“Extreme weather and droughts will lead the change in consciousness about climate change starting in 2014”
This became true. It was three years ago that people started to blame Climate Change for severe “once in 500 years” storms or the drought in California. When hundreds of millions of people personally experience such things for the first time in their lives it changes their consciousness.
“Low elevation coastal cities such as Miami Beach will be partially or largely under water by 2020”
Well, three years to go, but parts of Miami Beach are under water every month as is the eastern part of Norfolk. The “sunny day floods” mentioned above are the first indications of this. There will be dozens of American cities and towns, mostly on the eastern seaboard that will be until some amount of water consistently by 2020.
“Fresh seafood will soon be a high priced luxury as the stock is being extinguished. Replenishment of the oceans will be a global cause by 2018”
The total amount of fish in the oceans has been reduced by 70% since 1970. The price of fresh seafood has risen by more than 200% since 1990. There are hundreds of places around the world where fisherman can no longer make a living. Sometime soon humanity will be confronted with a choice: place a full or partial moratorium of industrial style fishing or risk massive loss of species. Life comes from the sea and we are slowly eating all of it.
Fish farming must be dramatically improved as it is the only environmentally acceptable answer. It may or may not become a global cause.
“Sea Level Rise will eviscerate a trillion dollars worth of beach front real estate in the U.S. by 2037”
Obviously way too soon to tell. What is known is that the rate of SLR is increasing and is expected to increase at a doubling rate in the next few years. I am convinced that the financial loss to SLR will be in the hundreds of billions in the next 20 years. It could reach a trillion or it could be more. I could not find what the aggregate value of all U.S. beachfront property is today so all these estimates are rough but in ballpark range.
The global non-profit I co-founded with planetary ethicist Tim Rumage is This Spaceship Earth, Inc. a 501 (3) (c) non-profit corporation. Our goal is to create crew consciousness on This Spaceship Earth. For us, every day is Earth Day. Since Earth Day was April 22, we named April Earth Month as we have a $10,000 matching grant for the month for any donation up to $500. The end of the month is days away and we still have a ways to go.
If any of the above concerns you, and you make tax deductible donations, please consider making one to us before midnight April 30 and it will be matched 100%. If you are so inclined, please go here to make your donation.
I rarely make personal requests here but a matching grant is worth this request. Thank you!