I said yesterday that climate change was not the greatest threat to humanity this century, and that is true. We are at the same time as climate issues are developing, also moving into a greater than in any previous period threat from global conflict and pursuant potential nuclear catastrophe (with singular thanks to the aggressive and peace-resistant western nations – chiefly the US – for that dire circumstance).
But both of those issues take joint second place to the issue of population growth and are merely symptoms of that primary looming disaster. ‘Disaster’ is not an inappropriate word for the situation that population growth exposes and which lies in wait to explode at some stage – ending humanity’s runaway madness on all fronts.
Nevertheless, climate change is one of the Big Three Issues. Forget the collapse of consumerism, banking, finance, industry, technology, and all associated diseases of modern life, they are merely third tier symptoms now and cannot effect our future path more than marginally – by rendering us incapable of doing anything to help ourselves once the dam of various collapses bursts.
So, where is climate change going? For years we have been aware that the fastest region of climatic change, not necessarily directly attributable to human activity (such as the very visible clearing of forests elsewhere), but to its global location and susceptibility to even minor fluctuations, is the Arctic region.
This, more than anything – and I am simply using heuristic reasoning here (I cannot quote the science but I am sure there is science behind it) – is the reason that it is now being acknowledged that Russia (large portions of which are situated within the Arctic Circle) is suffering the greatest current changes attributable to climate issues. The same could be said I believe for northern Canada and Alaska. Not to mention Greenland, the largest land based ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere and second only in size to Antarctica. The only difference in these northern regions being of a seasonal nature (what goes around, comes around and, at these latitudes, is always in focus), and with Russia occupying 50% of the global circumference at those latitudes, it is expected that it would fare the worst of any.
If you read around the recent reports, all this becomes obvious. The threat it proposes to global stability, in any capacity you care to consider, is enormous. Yet bear in mind what I said at the beginning.
But don’t anybody get the idea that this will weaken Russia. In fact, for a while at least, warmer climes (depending on how fast they change and how quickly the Russians can adapt – not simply basking in their new-found comfort and warmth) could well be a boon to the Russian economy for a while. Which is well away from any potential disruption that a quickly melting Greenland ice sheet would present in terms of sea-level rise and climatic upheaval for Western Europe and North America in particular.