Trump fiddles while the world burns
The news on the BBC web site this morning was not good. Hurricane Maria is tearing up the West Indies only weeks after Hurricane Irma. More lives will be lost, homes and livelihoods will be destroyed, and the worsening climate will claim more victims.
On another page there is a report that this winter in Australia has been the hottest ever with over 260 heat and low rainfall records being broken - suggesting that there could be a record number of bush fires in the summer.
At a less serious level the last patch of snow is about to vanish from a location in Scotland where normally it remains all the year round.
These events come as no surprise to me. In July 1990 I joined the CSIRO in Australia for a year, based in North Ryde, Sydney. My first job was to look through a pile of research papers - and the first one was explaining why, as the world warmed under a man-made blanket of carbon dioxide, we could expect bigger hurricanes. The idea was to set up an information system which followed the latest climate change research, and mad the information available, in an easy to understand way, to the politicians and government of Australia.
|A Postcard from 1908|
So is there any good news? A recent scientific article published in Nature Geoscience concludes
limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation.
What this actually tells us is that hurricanes are going to get even bigger, Australia will get even hotter, and many other major changes will take place. However if everyone (including Trump and the USA) took the challenge seriously things will not be quite as bad as they would have been if we did nothing. In effect we (and our children and our children's children) are all going to suffer because politicians worldwide didn't take the issue seriously enough 25 years ago.