Climate Inaction Means Terracidal Climate Catastrophe: Act Now To Prevent Present Disaster Deaths

Godda Coal Power Plant

Atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) are increasing at record rates due to record fossil fuel extraction and burning, and record iron ore, steel. cement and animal production. Humanity will not act on climate change but it could at least act urgently  now to  emplace systems to save the circa 15 million people presently dying each year from carbon fuel burning pollutants, climate change-linked disasters, and climate-impacted deprivation: act now  because things are set to get catastrophically worse.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not recognize the term “climate refugee”, preferring peoples displaced in the context of disasters and climate change. However it acknowledges that about 20 million people each year are displaced by climate change. In the Sahel alone the worsening climate crisis, compounded by armed actors, has forced 3 million to flee within countries and across borders [1]. However things are set to get catastrophically worse. Thus the ideal plus 1.5 degree Centigrade target limit for global warming agreed to in Paris in 2015 will be exceeded, if temporarily, in 1 year in the next 5 years [2-4]. With GHG levels in the atmosphere at record highs, GHG levels increasing at record high rates, oil, gas and coal extraction at record highs, and cattle, iron ore, steel, and cement production at record levels, it is clear that a catastrophic plus 2C will be reached in coming decades [2, 5, 6]. The World is knowingly slowly committing suicide.

In 2020 I published a huge book entitled “Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions” that concluded, given overall global inaction on climate change, that plus 2C of warming was inevitable. However I asserted that we are obliged to do everything we can to make the future “less bad” for future generations. I detailed 38 partial solutions to the worsening climate crisis [5]. However  millions of people are variously dying each year from  burning carbon fuels and consequent toxic air pollution, from disasters directly due to global warming (such as catastrophic fires, floods, droughts, storms, storm surges, and deadly heat waves), and from deadly deprivation that is variously impacted by climate change, as summarized below.

(a). Air pollution deaths.  It has been expertly estimated that each year about 7 million people die globally from the long-term effects of toxic pollutants (deadly PM2.5 carbon particles,  NO and NO2) from the burning of carbon fuels, specifically fossil fuels and biomass [7-9].

(b). Direct climate change deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 250,000 annual deaths directly attributable to climate change [10]. However this annual death toll is expected to escalate this century. The direst prediction from leading climate scientists and demographers is that in the absence of requisite action about 10 billion people will die this century (an average of 100 million per year this century) in a worsening Climate Genocide en route to a sustainable human population of only 1 billion people by 2100 [5, 11].

(c). Climate change-impacted  avoidable deaths from deprivation. Presently at a global warming of about plus 1.2C  about 7.4 million people die from deprivation each year and overwhelmingly in the Global South [12]. In 2003 about 16.0 million people died thus but this decreasing trend is set to be reversed due to climate change impacts [12]. It is clear that climate change is already contributing to this enormous death toll through drought, coastal inundation, heat stress, storms, floods, heat stress and decreased crop yields. The present magnitude of this indirect climate change contribution to the present Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust is difficult to disentangle.

We know what the World must do to achieve the commonly agreed goal of “net zero GHG emissions by 2050” (nearly all counties have signed up to this common goal). However, politician rhetoric aside, it is simply not happening, and atmospheric GHGs are at record highs and increasing at record rates [6]. However if the World won’t tackle climate change it can at least act now to prevent or minimize the present huge deaths outlined in (a) – (c) above that stem from (a) carbon fuel burning,  (b) direct effects of climate change, and (c) indirect effects of man-made climate change on huge annual avoidable mortality from deprivation in the Global South. As outlined above, actions taken in each one of these 3 areas will have effects in the other areas. Further, the protective systems  emplaced now will be vital as a basis for further and much greater protective action as the situation inevitably deteriorates in a worsening Climate Genocide [11, 12].

Put simply, while greedy and thoughtless Humanity still resolutely refuses to act on climate change, will it at least act now to try to save the millions presently already dying annually from air pollution, climate change and climate change-impacted deprivation in an ever-worsening Climate Genocide? Some suggested approaches are outlined below.

(a). Air pollution deaths.  The solutions involve rigorous pollution controls, and 100% renewable energy for transport, heating, cooking, lighting and manufacturing ASAP [5]. By way of example, simple social change and cheap technology could minimize air pollution deaths from carbon fuel burning, and otherwise improve life in the Global South (e.g. cheap, flat-pack parabolic solar mirrors for cooking and heating, the main meal at sunny noon rather than at night, and household solar panels for night activities such as life-improving reading and study).

(b). Direct climate change deaths. Hundreds of thousands are already dying each year from the effects of climate change, and especially so in the Global South, notably from floods, drought, crop losses, lack of potable water, fires, intense storms, sea level rise, storm surges and ever-worsening heat stress. Carbon pollution is inescapably associated with a damage-related cost of pollution, a Carbon Price estimated at about $200 per tonne of CO2-equivalent. The consequent Global Carbon Debt now totals $250 trillion and is increasing at about $12 trillion each year, noting that the annual World GDP is presently about $90 trillion  [5, 13]. These enormous numbers give an idea of the cost of the infrastructure needed to deal with climate change-related threats (e.g. sea walls to protect coastal communities, towns, cities, and arable land). Thus leading scientists  and science-informed activists say that we must return to about the pre-Industrial Revolution atmospheric CO2 of about 300 ppm CO2 (300 parts per million CO2) for a safe and sustainable planet for all peoples and all species [14, 15]. By way of example, a return to about 300 ppm CO2 is required for sustainable retention of  coral reefs and of Arctic summer sea ice [14, 15]. However the cost of returning to 300 ppm CO2 from the present and catastrophically increasing circa 420 ppm CO2 is about $250 trillion [13] – not impossible but rendered a futile  dream as the global Carbon Debt continues to remorselessly increase by $12 trillion each year [13].

However if the World will not implement vitally necessary climate change mitigation measures to address the looming and terminal Climate Genocide disaster  then surely at the very least it should urgently implement emergency measures now to address the present, here-and-now pollution- , climate change- and deprivation-related  mass mortality carnage killing about 15 million fellow human beings each year. These life-saving  emergency measures (that should be the basis of vastly greater future measures in the worsening Climate Genocide) would include safe emergency arrangements to provide rapid access emergency protection for  millions from fires, cyclones, storm surges, floods, drought, crop loss, famine, excessive and deadly heat,  and massive attendant social dislocation. Such measures are already urgently needed now, and will enable planning for an even more catastrophic future.

Of particular note is heat stress that killed over 60,000 people in rich Europe in 2022 alone [16]. Impoverished Africa, the Middle East and South Asia are particularly vulnerable and it will only get worse. Deadly heat wave is presently  30 times more likely in South Asia because of global warming [17]. Again, just as with shelters from fire, flood, storms and storm surges, shelters from extreme heat are already necessary. Urgently meeting the present heat emergencies  now will enable planning for a much more deadly immediate future in which everyone, rich and poor, will need protection from deadly heat waves via solar-powered air coolers. Impoverished Indigenous Australians in hot, remote desert homeland areas already face the prospect of deadly heat stress in the absence of air conditioners or reliable electricity [18], as likewise do impoverished Indigenous Palestinians living under brutal Apartheid Israeli Occupation [12, 19], and indeed most people in the Global South.

(c). Climate change-impacted  avoidable deaths from deprivation. In 2003 about 16 million people died avoidably from deprivation, overwhelmingly in the Global South. By 2020 this had fallen to 7.4 million such avoidable deaths annually [12]. However this trend will not continue, things will get a lot worse from now onwards, and an average of 100 million such deaths per year is predicted for this century [5, 11]. Ideally there would be a one-person-one-vote World Government (in addition to the present one-vote-per-country UN General Assembly and the big-power-dominated UN Security Council) guaranteeing basic dignified  survival (Universal Basic Income) for all [19]. However,  as with inaction on air pollution and inaction on terracidal climate change, this dream of Kindness- and Truth-based human decency simply will not happen readily if at all.

The UN’s “ The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023” ( launched on 12 July 2023) has summarized the present dire situation:   “Global Hunger: While global hunger numbers have stalled between 2021 and 2022, there are many places in the world facing deepening food crises. Over 122 million more people are facing hunger in the world since 2019 due to the pandemic and repeated weather shocks and conflicts, including the war in Ukraine; Nutritional Access: Approximately 2.4 billion individuals, largely women and residents of rural areas, did not have consistent access to nutritious, safe, and sufficient food in 2022; Child Malnutrition: Child malnutrition is still alarmingly high. In 2021, 22.3% (148.1 million) children were stunted, 6.8% (45 million) were wasted, and 5.6% (37 million) were overweight; Urbanization’s Impact on Diet: As urbanization accelerates, there is a noticeable increase in the consumption of processed and convenience foods, leading to a spike in overweight and obesity rates across urban, peri-urban, and rural areas; Rural Dependence on Global Markets: Previously self-sustaining rural regions, especially in Africa and Asia, are now found to be increasingly dependent on national and global food markets; Future Outlook: By 2050, it’s projected that 70% of the global population will reside in cities. This significant demographic shift necessitates a reorientation of food systems to cater to these new urban populations and eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition” [20, 21]. One notes that the global population is presently about 8 billion.

Nevertheless there are presently-available, and numerous technical solutions to radically increase survivability immediately e.g. peace, good governance, near 100% female literacy, food stores, appropriate dietary supplements, soap, preventive medicine, sanitation, good primary health care, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based medical diagnoses, transport infrastructure to dramatically increase access to sophisticated central medical services, and cheap, home-made clay ceramic filters to give clean drinking water. A globally-adopted system for cheap emergency shelter, food, nutrition, potable water, sanitation, prophyllaxis, primary health care, and access to central medical facilities would not only help address the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust but also enable development of well-planned emergency systems for the looming catastrophe of future decades.

The Emergency is now – 7.4 million avoidable deaths annually with a looming prospect of over 100 million climate-related deaths annually in coming decades [5, 11].

Final comments and conclusions.

So far the World as a whole is evidently unwilling to tackle the Climate Crisis – the atmospheric levels of the GHGs CO2, CH4 and N2O are inexorably rising at record high rates. However millions of people are already dying from the effects of toxic pollutants from carbon fuel burning, from direct effects of climate change, and from climate change-impacted deprivation. The least Humanity can expect from world governments (and especially those in the rich and correspondingly climate criminal Global North), are emergency actions now to stop this present carnage in the full knowledge that climate change-wise things are going to get far, far worse in coming decades.

One is stunned by the terracidal, suicidal, and lemming-like attitude of the One Percenters running the World. Brilliant French writer Marcel Proust in his famed novel “Swann’s Way” cogently summarized this amorality thus: “In my cowardice I became at once a man, and did what all we grown men do when face to face with suffering and injustice: I preferred not to see them” [22]. The 7.4 million people  now dying avoidably each year from increasingly climate change-impacted deprivation are mostly children, for goodness sake. The World must act now, even if only willing to mitigate the present carnage. We have run out of time, there is no Planet B  – the World must act now for a “less bad” future for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

References.

[1]. UNHCR, “Climate change and disaster displacement”, 2023: https://www.unhcr.org/uk/what-we-do/how-we-work/environment-disasters-and-climate-change/climate-change-and-disaster .

[2]. Gideon Polya, “WMO Warning: 1.5 Degree C Warming Breach Very Soon & With Increasing Frequency. Act Now!”, Countercurrents, 19 May 2023: https://countercurrents.org/2023/05/wmo-warning-1-5-degree-c-warming-breach-very-soon-with-increasing-frequency-act-now/ .

[3]. World Meteorological Organization (WMO), “Global temperatures set to reach new records in next five years”, 17 May 2023: https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/global-temperatures-set-reach-new-records-next-five-years .

[4]. World Meteorological Organization (WMO), “Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update. Target years: 2023 and 2023-2027”: https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=11611 .

[5]. Gideon Polya, “Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions”, Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 2020.

[6]. Gideon Polya, “Planet Doomed: No Decrease In Record GHGs & Gas, Oil, Coal, Cattle, Cement & Steel Production”, Countercurrents, 16 October 2022: https://countercurrents.org/2022/10/planet-doomed-no-decrease-in-record-ghgs-gas-oil-coal-cattle-cement-steel-production/ .

[7]. “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths .

[8]. Robert Fuller et al., “Pollution and health: a progress update”, The Lancet, 7 May 2022: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(22)00090-0/fulltext .

[9]. WHO, “Air pollution”: https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1 .

[10]. WHO, “Climate change and health”: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health .

[11]. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

[12]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 2020.

[13]. Gideon Polya, “Inescapable $200-250 Trillion Global Carbon Debt Increasing By $16 Trillion Annually”, Countercurrents, 27 April 2019: https://countercurrents.org/2019/04/inescapable-200-250-trillion-global-carbon-debt-increasing-by-16-trillion-annually-gideon-polya/ .

[14]. 300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org .

[15]. “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm CO2”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org—return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm .

[16]. Rachel Treisman, “Heat waves in Europe killed more than 61,600 people last summer, a study estimates”, NPR, 12 July 2023: https://www.npr.org/2023/07/12/1187068731/heat-waves-europe-deaths-study .

[17]. Sibi Arasu, “Heat wave in Asia made 30 times more likely because of climate change, scientists say”, AP News, 17 May 2023: https://apnews.com/article/climate-change-heat-wave-south-asia-india-bangladesh-laos-thailand-9343bb3fafbbd1ca737129d43a2574f6 .

[18]. Gideon Polya, “Australian climate criminality, heat stress deaths & Australian Aboriginal Ethnocide”, Countercurrents, 19 December 2019:  https://countercurrents.org/2019/12/australian-climate-criminality-heat-stress-deaths-australian-aboriginal-ethnocide/ .

[19]. Gideon Polya, “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability”, 3rd edition Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 2022.

[20]. “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023” , UNICEF, July 2023: https://data.unicef.org/resources/sofi-2023/ .

[21]. Countercurrents Collective, “2.4 Bln People Did Not Have Constant Access To Food, Hunger Stunts 148 Mln Children, Says UN Report”, Countercurrents,   15 July 2023: https://countercurrents.org/2023/07/2-4-bln-people-did-not-have-constant-access-to-food-hunger-stunts-148-mln-children-says-un-report/ .

[22]. Marcel Proust, “Swann’s Way”, 1913, Vintage 2005 English translation, pages 13-14.

Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia over 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, notably a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds”. He has also published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (2007, 2022) and “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (1998, 2008, 2023). He has recently published “US-imposed Post-9-11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide” (2020), and “Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions” (2020), and contributed to Soren Korsgaard (editor) “The Most Dangerous Book Ever Published – Dangerous Deception Exposed!” (2020). For images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/  .

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