Climate change today and the path from extreme disaster to sustainable balance

It finally came to this because of humanity’s greed: A couple of friends in India said that there has been no monsoon for three years and half of the palm leaves have turned yellow and died. A friend in Italy says that local people don’t go out there at all because of the scorching heat. In Europe, its largest river, the Danube, has almost dried up, France’s largest river, the Loire, and Italy’s largest river, the Po, have completely dried up. The ”starvation stones” indicating the dangerously low water level of the Elbe River in the 17th century have come to light. At the time, this would have indicated a future famine in Germany. In satellite images, France and Britain look like the yellow of the Sahara desert. Europe is hotter than it has been in 500 years. In many African countries, the rains have decreased radically, causing famine. Forest fires are raging around the world. Last year, an area larger than the entire area of ​​Belgium was destroyed in Australian forests. There is a danger that if the methane ice clathrates in the oceans melt, 90% of life will be destroyed. The bottomless greed of man can therefore cause the end of the old world, a total wave of extinction and the destruction of the entire society as it is now. Now we reap the harvest of stupidity and greed. However, it is still probably not too late to affect the extent of the damage. And of course we need to rebuild the country to be sustainable, create the necessary clean technology, ecological agriculture and communities.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has almost doubled since pre-industrial times. Many feedback phenomena, or feedbacks, have accelerated climate change catastrophically. The melting of glaciers and snow has led to a decrease in the earth’s albedo, or reflectivity. This has heated the earth at an even greater rate. Methane released from permafrost, e.g. in Siberia and Canada, is a series of time bombs for climate change that have already begun to explode. In Siberia, houses sink into the swamp, railway tracks turn into spaghetti, and methane, a greenhouse gas 40 times stronger than CO2, is released in unimaginable quantities.

Fortunately, the seas are still warming more slowly than the air for the time being, but in any case, their warming is also progressing due to climate change and greenhouse emissions. The worst thing is if the ”powder keg of the seas”, i.e. the methane ice clathrates at the bottom of the shallow sea areas of the oceans, melts. They contain up to half of the reserves of all fossil fuels, and methane’s thermal force on the climate is significantly greater. 200 million years ago, the melting of methane ice clathrates caused climate change and a climate catastrophe that destroyed 95% of life! This could happen again.

Those born at the beginning of the 21st century are the last generation that got to see a fairly normal climate. There will probably be no more normal seasons. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were still long periods of normal weather, moderately warm, temperate and mild summers and snowy winters, even though extreme weather phenomena have been common since the 80s. Now the situation will remain permanent for the next 100 years at least. The sea level will rise, New York, Helsinki and many other cities will be under the sea, maybe protective dams can be built. The warming of the climate always happens with a small delay, like when you throw lukewarm water on the sauna heater, the heat comes afterwards. The worst, the heat peak is just ahead. We are in a great hurry to adapt to the prevailing situation with, for example, new technology and create better global strategies, cooperation and a new sustainable economic system to save the world and restore the carbon content of the atmosphere to a sustainable level. The Earth’s biosphere is under great threat. Climate change and deforestation will likely result in the reduction of biomass in the Earth’s biosphere from 550 Gt to 400 Gt by 2100. In other words, 1/3 of nature, plants and animals will be destroyed. Up to half of the species may disappear. Most of the species live especially in tropical forests, but also in other forests of the world, a large part of which is disappearing. About 80% of the world’s biomass and species are in forests.

We are completely dependent on nature and the ecosystem services it provides, we are part of nature. In a normal situation, nature takes care of climate balance, water and nutrient circulation, soil regeneration, pollination, biomass and food production, etc. However, man, with his greed and stupidity, has messed up the climate system, ecological balance and nature’s circulation. These are sensitive systems where even relatively small changes can wreak havoc. Environmental problems only came with high cultures and kingdoms, in the Stone Age, man lived in a state of nature in balance with nature, and did not cause destructive environmental changes. Then came intensive farming, economy and cities, wars, control of nature, which led to soil erosion, water shortages and deforestation. Eventually, the advent of fossil fuels and massive energy production led to exponential economic growth, increased consumption and a population explosion and an increase in atmospheric carbon. These gave birth to an environmental crisis, all in the background of human greed, power hierarchies, a wrong economic system and a wrong world view.

Concretely, climate change can be stopped by removing carbon from the air and reducing carbon entering the air. Removal can be done by actually planting trees. About 90% of plant biomass, or phytomass, is in trees. It would be possible to double the world’s forest area from 30% to 60%. This would remove humanity’s carbon emissions from the past 10 years, 300 Gt, more than that, which is a significant amount. Annual global climate emissions are over 30 Gt. It is even more important to reduce global carbon and other greenhouse gas and particle emissions (methane, nitrogen oxides, black carbon). This can be achieved by reducing consumption, switching to vegetable protein and organic farming (from fields to carbon sink, carbon negative), stopping deforestation, preventing desertification, building ecologically, electrifying transport and using hydrogen, and producing all energy with clean renewable energy, mainly wind power, solar power and hydrogen technology. This is not impossible. Even now, in many countries, half of the electricity is produced with renewable forms of energy production. The fires of change are blowing in the air. Let these excess carbon be blown away. The solution to too fast population growth is the education of girls and women, contraception education and the provision of contraceptives in poor countries, as well as the elimination of child mortality and poverty, check out the UN’s 2015 Agenda2030 goals.

The ancient Greek story of Prometheus tells how Prometheus steals fire from the gods and gives it to the people he created.  As a result, a high culture and society emerges.  The gods punish and avenge Prometheus with a gift given to his brother Epimethus’s wife Pandora, a cap, or more precisely a pot, from which death, disasters, diseases and wars are released.  However, Pandora manages to close the box, and there remains hope.  There is always hope for humanity.  Hope is not destroyed by fire, not by the thunder of cannons, and not by the shaking of the earth.

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