Climate changes before I retire

Photo: Peter Morawski (flickr/creative commons)

There’s not a lot about climate change and its effects that horrifies me anymore. I guess you could say that I’m desensitised to it – melting permafrost? Yeah, I’ve read about it. Losing the Great Barrier Reef in Australia? Going to visit it before it’s all gone, but yeah, we’ll lose that too. A friend is buying a house? I’m cracking the jokes about how high above sea level it is and whether we’ll need to fortify it for the ‘end of the world’.

Most of the research that is coming out now looking at climate models and the potential feedbacks we may get from complex climate systems are thinking we may have underestimated how fast climate change is going to kick us in the ass. If we’re lucky, and none of the non-linear feedbacks kick in too fast, we’re looking at experiencing between 1-3oC of global warming by 2050, and it’s likely those estimates will be conservative.

Warming projections to 2080 from Rowlands et al. in Nature Geoscience 5, 256-260 (2012)

The key word in that sentence is experiencing. I’ll be 65 in 2050, so this is something I’m going to see, experience, live, breathe and feel in my working lifetime.

Climate change is not an abstraction for me and anyone of my generation – it is reality. So when my friends and I joke about needing squirrels on treadmills to run power generators and stockpiling wine from the Napa Valley before it becomes so hot and arid they can no longer grow grapes, it’s not that far removed from what we may experience.

Want to think about adaptation? Well, when I retire, some of the things I’m going to have to consider very carefully are; how secure are the water resources where I live? How often will the area experience extreme storms or other climate supercharged weather events? How quickly do emergency services respond and get things running after any of those much more common disasters? How robust is the local agriculture; will there be food shortages?

These are things that may not be so far-fetched by 2050.

Climate change is no longer a far distant problem that can be solved by some magical technology that will be invented by the next generation.

The consequences of super charging our atmosphere with carbon dioxide pollution are already being felt today and given that 2oC is the internationally recognised point between possibly manageable climate change and catastrophic climate change, the fact that it could be as high as 3oC before I retire means we could be living in a very different climate in my lifetime.  

Climate change impacts with each degree of warming (UNEP/UNESCO)

The uncertainty within climate models means that we could be lucky enough to ‘only’ experience 1-2oC of climate change by 2050, or we could be almost off the climate cliff. The problem is that the uncertainty ranges between pretty uncomfortable to the beginnings of catastrophic – before I retire.

Climate change is going to affect everything. Climate related drought and crop losses could wipe out all the gains we’ve made towards ending world hunger. It is likely to make hundreds of millions of people homeless from increased weather extremes everywhere from South East Asia to Manhattan. The supercharged summer heatwaves will kill many more people who are not used to dealing with extreme heat and live in cities not used to coping with extreme heat. All before I retire.

This is no longer about the pollution and climate you’re leaving your children. This is about the choices we face today and the consequences those choices will have on the trajectory of our planet’s liveability before I retire. 

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Science says comet hits are real,&climate change onlycould be.

*Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets ruled by corporations and trustworthy politicians.*

We have moved on and now we can stop acting like neocons.

Climate Change Science:

Comet hits are a “real eventual crisis” but science has never said the same about climate change crisis. It was a 27 year old “maybe” crisis, so be a real planet lover and be glad a crisis was exaggerated. Bush admired our fear mongering however.

*Not one single IPCC warning isn’t swimming in “could bes” not “will bes”. *

Science says comet hits are inevitable and eventual but climate change isn’t.

History is laughing at the Reefer Madness of climate blame.

Climate change. .. CO2?

I believe in climate change, but disagree that CO2 is the main culprit.  Our CO2 has been this high before, in fact just after the industrial revolution. What we should consider is the high amount of particulate pollution coming from Asia. It is very bad. This type of pollution holds heat into atmosphere which of course dramatically changes climate movements and characteristics. If you look at the effects of this...the Northern hemisphere experienced the first signs of changes. China is the biggest culprit.  I was in China for two weeks and couldn't even spot where the sun was in his time from the smog. Wake up scienists. We need to fix this problem first.

Absolute Rubbish

This is all utter nonesense...the earth is not warming in any significant way....please stop publishing such rubbish



Truly insignificant heating...if you're a rock.


The usual cut and paste trollery

[quote=Former Believer

We have moved on and now we can stop acting like neocons.


Of all the cant you've posted under a dozen pseudonyms in hundreds (thousands?) of places, this one baffles me the most. Could you please employ your idiosyncratic logic and explain the joke? Bad form for a comedian, i know, but inquiring minds would like to know.


Climate change?

The Arabs are using HAARP to water the desert and the Americans have large HAARP bases but say they can't be used to control the weather. So it works for the Arabs bur not the people who started using it first??? When I watch the Australian weather satillite, I know when bad weather is coming due to the energy given of from the HAARP bases here. The main one being in Esperence WA. Put the weather radar on the full country and on loop and watch it for a few weeks and you too will see it. climate chance is made by our leader, not our carbon emissions. They want to be the only ones who can travel and have cars, boats, planes and electricity and all us other to have less and less and less. The yanks have used weather modification since the Vietnam war yet deny it to the point of saying cloud seeding is a lie! Our leaders lie and treat us as their cattle. Don't blindly believe them. Do a bit of checking and you'll soon see we're ruled by lying tyrants.


I also believe that the climate is changing. But is man responsible?NO,otherwise I might also say that I saw a pig fly over the moon last nite! MONEY,MONEY,MONEY it's all about wealth distribution.  Here in Australia we are Taxed to the eyeballs,as if this is going to change the World's Climate. (there goes that pig again). I say to those NumNuts that if we are all going to fry to a frazzle,then fine ,good,bring it on. I don't care any more because I will be dead by then.

You remaining fear mongering believers hate humanity more than..

If science said climate change was as real as comet hits are……but they don’t! So believing in this Reefer Madness is pure fear mongering.

Not one single IPCC warning of climate crisis isn’t smothered in; “maybe” and “could be”…………. Science has never said any crisis was as eventual and inevitable as comet hits are. Why? It’s been a 27 year old “maybe” crisis.

The only crisis you doomers have to worry about is your grandkids explaining to their kids why you worshipped a “maybe” CO2 death wish for them and their kids. None of you witch burners would still be shooting your mouths off like this and condemning our kids to your greenhouse gas ovens if there were real legal consequences for you issuing CO2 death threats to billions of helpless children. And why? JUST to make sure they stayed environmentally aware and turned the friggin lights out more often. Who's the neocon again? Stop scaring our kids, but even they are laughing now. Everyone except you knows it was all a tragic exaggeration. *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets ruled by corporations and trustworthy politicians.*

cursory attention

Despite best 'efforts', it appears no nation are doing anything in relation to specific actions to take in the event of sea level rise.

If nations were convinced, they would be making plans for mass relocation of coastal residents at risk of inundation. I know on not one that has identified areas of relation, set aside funding and have made plans for the social upheaval this will cause.

In Australia we have seen that we cannot cope with a series of cyclones and floods as there are not enough tradesmen to repair and rebuild. Some people are still waiting, years after the event.

Plus the insurance industry will collapse unless they have started specifically excluded 'effects of global warming' on their policies. This will result in large numbers of new 'poor' in developed countries. Not to mention the effect on existing poor in third world countries who will be abandonded as first world countries struggle to cope with their own domestic situation.

Amy--a serious correction in your UNEP table


The table taken from UN Environmental Program sources says, under ecosystem effect, that 4 degrees will produce major extinctions around the world.  Wrong!  It's happening now!

Because of our species' radical alteration of ecosystems around the world (and after only 0.5 degrees C rise in half century), we have induced the Sixth Great Extinction of species (starting with #1 440 million years ago). 

The rate of loss of biodiversity is actually an even greater threat to humans than the terrible threat of climate change.  Nature has taken 3.5+ billion years to store her wisdom through natural selection.  Our species is wiping that wisdom out at an estimated 35,000 species a year (noted from lecture by Keith Wade at Capilano University Mar 13th).

If we think we can organize life on this planet better than nature, take a look at what we have done with our financial system.  Closer to nature, consider that today at many a gas station, a liter water (a renewable resource) costs more than a liter of gasoline (a non-renewable resource).

What to do? 

1) Stop consuming the planet--meat, oil, money.

2) Connect to family, neighbours, human and non-human, enjoy them and build community with them for whatever is coming down in the future.

3) Treat deniers kindly.



Gez, I'm in my mid-fifties and can see the changes already.  I'm concerned about my own retirement let along 50 years from now.  Frankly, I don't think we have another 50 years.