What Does Psychological And Physical Adaptation To Global Warming Look Like?

Global Warming

Western man, to whose numbers we count men and women beneficiaries of capitalism in all its facets, must mend his ways or accept the extinction of the human race.

One of the mistakes he must rectify is his psychological tendency to foist the job of mitigating global warming on the poor in the name of meeting sustainable development goals.

For example, in their important paper published in Nature Climate Change | VOL 8 | JANUARY 2018 | 2–12 | (Ref 1) 12 wise men rightly condemn a plan by some other scientists to “transform 570 million farms to be climate smart and incentivizing 1.6 billion people who economically depend on forests to become early movers in No Overshoot and Minimize Carbon Dioxide Reduction scenarios.”

Carbon dioxide emissions are caused by those who use fossil fuels and nuclear energy and commercial energy based on rare minerals extracted from the ground with energy intensive methods, not by those who have a metabolism with nature based on manual labour.  The authors of the paper I review here rightly point out how wrong it is to make global policy scenarios dependant on policing the most vulnerable.

Instead they rightly point out that it is the polluters who must change.

The mind of modern man is filled with ideas that are reactions to sensations in the body on the one hand and replays of past thoughts or derivations or leaps of imagination in response of previous hearsay or outdated education. Out of sheer laziness modern man accept his own reactive thoughts as necessary for his wellbeing and to do his work or keep the family happy.

What he or she generally does not consider is that due to the cumulative effects of all of mankind’s thoughts and consequent actions from past history, his ideas are more and more in the nature of defilements of the mind, preventing him from living in the moment in his own interest and in the interest of the wellbeing of all living and non-living beings in harmony with the insights from science.

These 12 wise men quoted above have shown in their recent paper that early and fast decarbonisation with a road-map for decarbonisation consistent with 1.5 °C warming, if it were governed by a law applicable to all countries that would involve a 2020 emission peak and a halving of carbon dioxide emissions every decade thereafter, would lead to only 6% natural land loss, compared to between 8% and 28% in other scenarios. An economy with zero coupon perpetual bonds for ecological restoration and full employment would adjust seamlessly in all respects. There would be no stranded assets, only useless assets that become useless on the one hand and valuable assets that become valuable in an ecological economy and society.

If all emissions from fossil fuels and use of nuclear energy are reduced by half every decade after 2020, then all the ill effects of any other emission reduction trajectory that does not make as deep and as immediate cuts can be avoided.

The only thing preventing mankind from taking action to save the human race and as many other living beings as possible from runaway global warming, is the reluctance of modern man to change his mind.

It is not right to follow the white supremacists’ approach of expecting the poor to forgo what the powerful will not.

The paper I review here is a must read for any climate realist. Halving emissions every decade from 2020 onwards requires huge legislative changes. Yes it is a formidable global policy challenge. But we have known all this since 1992 at the latest. Here the argument is restated in all its simplicity, in the hope that we will all wake up.

In order for all people in all countries to join in this scenario a love of the moment and a willingness to give up the defilements of the mind of cravings and aversions induced by sensations and thoughts that have no purpose in ensuring the wellbeing of all living and non-living things are surely needed for those of us who are not manual workers.  Goods beyond the simple basics of everyday life must be given up. Compassionate living and hard work to restore ecosystems are the way forward.

Let us all wish each other and ourselves luck in this endeavour and pressure our Governments to make the necessary legislative changes in the next two years.

Ref 1: How to spend a dwindling greenhouse gas budget:  The Paris Agreement is based on emission scenarios that move from a sluggish phase-out of fossil fuels to largescale late-century negative emissions. Alternative pathways of early deployment of negative emission technologies need to be considered to ensure that climate targets are reached safely and sustainably. By Michael Obersteiner, Johannes Bednar, Fabian Wagner, Thomas Gasser, Philippe Ciais, Nicklas Forsell, Stefan Frank, Petr Havlik, Hugo Valin, Ivan A. Janssens, Josep Peñuelas and Guido Schmidt-Traub. In Nature Climate Change | VOL 8 | JANUARY 2018 | 2–12

Anandi Sharan was born in Switzerland, lives in Bangalore and last year worked in Araria District Bihar, India. She works on trying to find the best money system to help people adapt to climate change especially in India.


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