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The World Keeps Heating!
Global emissions, pollution and waste are breaking records - when will it end?
Global heating has been off the agenda lately thanks to the war in Ukraine, the stock market collapse and the triple palaver of Trump, Johnson and Musk hogging the airwaves. It seems Twitter’s appeal was not all about the bots after all. Meanwhile, the real existential threat just keeps marching on as global emissions have reached yet another all time high.
According to US government data, the level of carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere is now more than 50% higher than during the pre-industrial era, further pushing the planet into conditions last experienced millions of years ago, well before humans even existed. And look how it worked out for us last time around. This time human existence is set to reverse - as a fossil expert is claiming that the climate crisis will make us shrink in size. Pretty much the opposite of how horses evolved. (They got bigger).
The evidence for the impending climate catastrophe is all about us, and about as visible as any bot-twitterati. Try taking a morning run in the Mediterranean right now. Apparently flies are dropping less frequently than sun-basking joggers. Or, you could take a jog around the block in a Middle Eastern town of your choice to experience the sight-twisting jamboree of daily rapacious sand storms right up your proverbial …...
Insects have it no better. Apparently being a bug today means you lack the energy to dive bomb onto our vehicle number plates which is deeply disappointing for the wildlife experts because it makes counting them a tad bit trickier. Mind you, not as tricky as being a coral jewellery designer given the bountiful collapsing coral reefs.
The UK’s climate doom monger come soothsayer, George Monbiot, recently reported that sea warming or chemical dredging for tax dodging ports (he seems a bit confused about which) means that British crabs and lobsters are fishing themselves out of the sea and conveniently dropping dead in droves on our beaches to avoid the toxic culture/chemicals below the water line. Proving that politicians do not have the sole monopoly on toxic culture in England’s green and once pleasant lands. The crustacean toxicity will give you a mean stomach ache while the politician’s toxicity on the other hand just won’t go away.
Lately Southern California has implemented water rationing since glaciers pretty much everywhere are turning into green soup bowls - and ice caps just keep on melting. All while Russia has a new strategy to keep all prices high - mainly military ‘exercises’ in bordering countries. It maintains the rocket high prices and forces the rest of the world to start more oil wells to avoid buying from them (no worries though there are plenty of buyers out there) further jacking up emissions and delaying the point at which renewable energy might ever make a difference. Apparently it will to Putin!
As a result the cost to fix the climate problem keeps climbing. Businesses, taxpayers and insurers will be left picking up the tab for political dithering. The funding needed by UN climate disaster appeals has soared by more than 800% in twenty years as global heating takes hold. Only about half of which is being stumped up by developed countries that created the problem in the first place. So nothing new there.
Last year was the third costliest on record for extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and wildfires - total economic costs estimated at $329bn, nearly double the total aid given by donor nations - and presumably a smidgen less than the cost of Russia’s war, sorry exercise, in Ukraine. Even Apple cannot afford to get us out of this mess and in any case they are far too busy sorting out the next version of the iPhone. It looks like future versions will automatically cool in your hand while it gets scorched to a pulp by the sun.
In 2017, extreme weather was cited as a “major” factor in the majority of UN humanitarian appeals for the first time, according to an Oxfam report. By 2021, it was a “major” or “contributing” factor in 78% of all such appeals, up from 35.7% in 2000. The UN expects a further 40% increase in climate disasters by 2030 which means the cost of living crisis might just keep on ‘giving’.
All while the latest measurements showing the relentless upward march of CO2 follows scientists’ latest warning that the world may still barrel into disastrous climate change even if planet-heating emissions are drastically cut, which governments are still failing to achieve.
“It’s depressing (understatement of the century) that we’ve lacked the collective will power to slow the relentless rise in CO2,” said Ralph Keeling, a geochemist who runs CO2 measurements for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Hawaii (who in branding heck comes up with these names??). “Fossil-fuel use may no longer be accelerating, but we are still racing at top speed towards a global catastrophe.” Nicely put.
Apparently we have reached the gold standard for shit-storm by reverting to where we were four million years ago, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But apparently back then it was ok to have more CO2 emissions than twitter bots because the world was radically different from how it is now, with forests in the Arctic and sea levels five to 25 meters higher than today, which would be enough to drown most of the world’s largest cities - and could at least deal with the over population problem.
It is worth remembering that four million years ago, the last time CO2 levels were this high, was in an era before hominids walked upright - you know a bit like Downing Street staff after a days work-cum-Proseccos.
So, it seems we have reverted to almost neolithic times - in so many ways! And apparently this will add up to us standing a cats chance in hell of keeping within 1.5 degrees of global warming/heating/Swedish-sauna.
This limit, which was agreed to by the world’s governments in the 2015 Paris climate pact, is now increasingly likely to be breached in the coming years. A new research paper has found that the lingering effect of past emissions means there is a 42% chance the 1.5C limit will be passed even if emissions are halted immediately.
And to leave matters on a note so depressing that is beyond the thought of twitter without Trump and his ever trending climax of women, theft (apparently someone pinched his ballot paper) and sedition, Bill Hare, big boss of Climate Analytics, reminds us that the world “appears to be sleepwalking to disaster. Governments appear to think taking more action is too hard.” They're too busy trying to do almost anything else involving in-fighting because it should be easier and, let’s face it, it’s way more fun.
“What will be more difficult is dealing with a three-degree world. Already this year we’ve seen horrific impacts, like the heatwave in India and Pakistan, and floods in the same region. This is just the beginning.”
And according to a whole gaggle of climate scientists things are going to get even worse. More than seventy NGOs and activist groups from around the world have formed a “carbon bomb defusal” network (?????) to share expertise and resources in the fight to halt such heavy-fossil-fuel projects and prevent the catastrophic climate breakdown they would cause.
A Guardian investigation identified 195 carbon bombs, gigantic oil and gas projects that would each result in at least a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over their lifetimes, in total equivalent to about 18 years of current global CO2 emissions. About two thirds of these have started pumping.
The US is the leading source of emissions from these mega projects, with its 22 carbon bombs spanning the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the foothills of the Front Range in Colorado to the Permian Basin. Together they have the potential to emit 140 billion tonnes of CO2, which is almost four times more than the entire world emits each year. And you thought we had already broken heating records - just wait.
Saudi Arabia is the second biggest potential emitter after the US, with 107 billion tonnes, followed by Russia, Qatar, Iraq, Canada, China and Brazil. These grim reapers might help us deal with the cost of living crisis which would be handy, but apparently that won’t matter - because we’ll warm up so much that heating our home/car/body will prove a little passe in a post climate screwed era where we all become Saudi Arabia. While this might look good for your suntan, it is probably less good news if you are a woman, minority, slightly rambunctious or a specialist in camel rewilding.
Either way, get used to cratering stock markets and soaring global heating/travel chaos. If you want to know what post apocalypse mayhem looks like try getting on a cheap flight to Benidorm right now.
Instead you could throw your lot in with the new legion of bots heading to Zuck’s metaverse (or is it multiverse?). Bide your time away from the melting planet with a bunch of truth shaping avatars, preferably not of the political persuasion, which might look a little NFT pricey right now, but with a few more downward pricks of the crypto bubble should at least cost less than a Birmingham night out with Johnny Depp. Either way, it looks like it’s time to get off this overly real planet assuming Microsoft Windows will let you jump in.
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