Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
My world's on fire, how about yours?
The "global north" has found itself quite immune to climate change for decades now. This is changing faster than they thought. The heat is coming home.
Imagine you lived in a world where when you threw your remote at the TV, the TV of a neighbour three doors away broke and she has no clue who did it. Would you have any reason to stop throwing your remote at the TV?
This is a great analogy to describe climate change and its impact.
The G7 countries, which are responsible for the greatest consumption and therefore the greatest pollution across the planet, have had it like this. Leave alone material consumption, their electricity consumption is phenomenal.
Source: Shrink that footprint
America is an exception amongst the G7, where Coal and Gas contribute 67% of the electricity capacity.
The equatorial regions are hotter than the tropics. The region is closer to the sun and also gets the most direct and unobstructed heat of the sun.
Source: The Carbon Almanac
Consequently, a vast majority of the impacts of climate change have been felt by countries in the region. Also, most of these countries also happen to be poor because the G7 were busy looting them over the last century.
Research from Dartmouth University shows that,
“Greenhouse gases emitted in one country cause warming in another, and that warming can depress economic growth,” says one of the researchers, Justin Mankin, in a statement about the work. “This research provides legally valuable estimates of the financial damages individual nations have suffered due to other countries’ climate-changing activities.”
Quantitative assessments of culpability like these are useful in developing fair mitigation policy and agreements, and, potentially, in providing basis for climate litigation and restitution.
Dear White people, meet Climate Change…
While this crime has been perpetrated on the “Global South”, the north is beginning to burn up…
Challenged by high temperatures and strong winds, 1,000 firefighters and 10 water-dumping planes struggled Friday to contain two wildfires in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France that have forced the evacuation of 11,300 people and ravaged pine forests near the Atlantic coast.
The French wildfires were among several scorching different areas of Europe this week.
One of the French fires is in woodlands just south of the Atlantic resort town of Arcachon, a major attraction for visitors during the summer season. The other is in parkland not far from valleys dotted with vineyards that have struggled with hotter, drier weather than usual this year that authorities have linked to climate change.
The Gironde region of France has been seeing temperatures north of 40 degrees Celsius. It also happens to be where a large part of the French wine production comes from. Load up on your French wines, the yield is going to be appalling over the next few years and you might even be able to sell them later for a little bit more.
Across the channel…
Britain's weather forecaster issued its first-ever red "Extreme Heat" warning for parts of England on Monday and Tuesday when temperatures are forecast to reach record highs, triggering a "national emergency" alert level.
Much of Europe is baking in a heat wave that has pushed temperatures into the mid-40s Celsius in some regions, with wildfires raging across tinder-dry country in Portugal, Spain, France and Croatia on Thursday
The highest ever recorded temperature in Britain was 38.7C (102 Fahrenheit) recorded in Cambridge University Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019. The Met Office said it was now forecasting temperatures of 40C for the first time in Britain.
The British are going to experience nice balmy weather. (not)
By midafternoon, temperatures neared 100 degrees in England — just short of a record high. Wales provisionally registered the hottest day in its history, with the thermometer in Hawarden hitting 98.8 degrees.
For a country unaccustomed to extreme heat, it was a struggle to cope. Rail service was limited over fears the tracks would buckle, flights at Britain’s largest air base were halted and the government urged people to work from home. Retailers reported skyrocketing demand for fans and air-conditioning units as people sought ways to stay cool in a nation where few homes are equipped with central air.
Source: New York Times
40 degrees Celsius would be a really nice day in Delhi summers. In fact, this week, thanks in part to the showers, Delhi records a high of 41 degrees celsius. We have been at the receiving end of it for decades.
In 2003 when I was studying in Agra, it was normal for the temperature to reach 50 degrees Celsius. That combined with the loo (dry hot winds) would make for hard living. Add a pinch of power cut to that, we just used to fall asleep out of exhaustion. The same year, when I went to Belgium, I could not stand 35 degrees Celsius. I do not know if it was because of the humidity, the angle of incidence of the sun or the altitude. If England reaches 40 degrees, rest assured there are going to be a lot of dead people.
English homes have neither fans nor air-conditioners. It will be like going to bed in an oven, you will just not wake up.
In the first five days of July, Sydney was drenched with 8.7 inches of rain — double the entire month’s average rainfall. Some surrounding areas received over 30 inches.
The downpour caused severe flooding along the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, where tens of thousands of people were evacuated. For those families, it’s a familiar routine: This month’s storm caused the third — and in some places the fourth — major flood to devastate the area in the past 16 months.
Source: New York Times
There is a saying, “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea”; we may have to modify it to “caught between the flooding and the burning heat”.
For the past few years, America has continued to maintain its delicate balance of being flooded in the east and burning in the west. Most of this has been to the south of the country, and those in the “American North” have not cared much. Now, the heat is moving up the country.
Large portions of the country, stretching from Texas to the Northeast, set new daily temperature records over the weekend.
Well above normal temps continued on Sunday, largely in the Northeast in Connecticut and Massachusetts, said Marc Chenard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The record-breaking early season heat wave "is not all that common, but it's not unprecedented by any means," Chenard said.
In the meantime, “President fist-bump” went to beg for oil in Saudi Arabia and the EU is cutting gas deals in Azerbaijan and UAE. So much for climate consciousness.
Agriculture is collapsing
It’s not just chilli peppers. Mustard producers in France and Canada said extreme weather caused a 50% reduction in seed production last year, leading to a shortage of the condiment on grocery store shelves. Blistering heat, stronger storms, droughts, floods, fires and changes in rainfall patterns are also affecting the cost and availability of staples, including wheat, corn, coffee, apples, chocolate and wine. The climate crisis is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events – and it’s putting food production at risk.
These are all climate-inflicted. In addition to this, we have the self-goal by Sri Lanka, the labour shortage induced by COVID, and the Ukraine war.
No matter where you live in the world, there is no longer denying the effects of climate change.
Also in the US, Lake Mead is almost dry. The Colorado River is also losing water incredibly fast. Heat or not, they may not have enough water to engage in agriculture!
So what now?
The other prong of the neo-imperialist machinery employed by America is called the Credit Rating System. A system whereby, they can issue Trillions in debt and not suffer any default because they can just issue dollars at will. But countries that do not issue dollars are subjected to defaults and have their economies looted through high-interest rates.
Biodiversity loss, decline of ecosystem services, and overall environmental degradation can hit economies through multiple channels. The combined macroeconomic consequences can impact sovereign creditworthiness. Yet, the methodologies published and applied by leading credit rating agencies (CRAs) do not explicitly incorporate biodiversity and nature-related risks.
Omitting them may ultimately undermine market stability. As environmental pressures intensify, the gap between the information conveyed by ratings and real-world risk exposure may grow. A consistent approach to integrating nature- and biodiversity related risks into debt markets is long overdue.
They want to penalise countries that have an agri-based economy and start docking their credit ratings because yields will start falling.
Going back to the analogy at the beginning, this is like making the person whose TV you broke by throwing your remote buy insurance!
Finally, capitalism is about providing a lot of choices. They never fail to deliver. Now you just need to decide whether you will drown and die, burn and die or starve and die.