You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Living on a 'Record-Shattering' Planet

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/11/2015 Tom Engelhardt
DEFAULT © Provided by The Huffington Post DEFAULT

These days, all you have to do is look around if you want your hair to stand on end on the subject of our future on this planet. Here's just a little relatively random list of recent news on climate-change-related happenings.

Mexico was recently hit by the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, average global temperatures for September ran off the rails. ("This marks the fifth consecutive month a monthly high-temperature record has been set and is the highest departure from average for any month among all 1,629 months in the record that began in January 1880.") It was the seventh month of 2015 to be "record-shattering" and the year itself looks as if it might cumulatively be the same. (By now, this story is considered so humdrum and expectable that it didn't even make the front page of my hometown newspaper!) The cataclysmic civil war, terror war, and international conflict in Syria is being reclassified as the first climate-change war based on the staggering drought that preceded it. That, in fact, has been called "the worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago." Turning to colder climes, ice in Antarctica is melting so unexpectedly quickly that, according to the latest research, the continent's ice shelves might be heading for collapse by 2100, guaranteeing a future rise in sea levels of potentially staggering proportions. Meanwhile, last week you could go online and watch dramatic video evidence of the melting of Greenland -- rivers of water raging across a dissolving ice shelf that, one of these decades, will raise sea levels by an estimated 20 feet globally. And oh yes, for those of you curious about the hotter regions, a new study indicates that heat waves in the Persian Gulf may be so fierce before or by the end of this century that, in some of parts of the oil heartlands of the planet, they might quite literally endanger human survival.


Need I go on? Need I mention why the upcoming climate change confab in Paris in a few weeks matters big time? Need I add that, whatever agreements may be reached there, they are essentially guaranteed not to be enough to bring global warming truly under control. And in that context, if you think that a Greater Middle East with five failed states in it since 2001 is already a nightmare, consider Michael Klare's vision in "Why the Paris Climate Summit Will Be a Peace Conference" of a resource-war-torn planet in a "record-shattering" future of abysmal heat and climate tipping points. If you want to know what's at stake for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, read this article.

More from Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon