The world is in for a major climate change catastrophe

Unfortunately, for many, the very issue of global warming remains a hoax

Rashid Husain SyedWorld leaders assembled last week at the Red Sea tourist resort of Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt for the COP 27 U.N. summit, the annual global environment conference aimed at finding solutions to the environmental issues faced by the world.

The almost two weeks long yearly event is a major global congregation, grabbing the attention of global leaders, environmentalists, and energy leaders.

The U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, set the tone for the annual United Nations-led international climate talks. “We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing,” Guterres said in his opening remarks at the summit, making an impassioned plea to the world leaders to take concrete steps and to help Pakistan and other climate-vulnerable countries.

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Standing in front of a sign that read “What goes on in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan” at that country’s pavilion, Guterres said the recent deadly floods (in Pakistan) were a harbinger of disasters to come. “The international community has a duty to massively support Pakistan at this moment,” he said to applause.

“If there is any doubt about loss and damage, go to Pakistan,” Guterres said, calling on the world leaders to create “a road map to deal with it.”

At last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, the United States signed a statement agreeing to “increase resources” for loss and damage without committing to specifics. Many feel such commitments made in the previous conferences are still to be met. This is a significant issue of concern as the threat of global warming continues to grow.

Just before the beginning of the summit on the 8th, the World Meteorological Organization said the planet had likely witnessed its warmest eight years on record, including every year since countries came together in 2015 to create the landmark Paris agreement.

Many now feel the world is heading into a deep crisis. A report released at the COP 27 climate summit also underlined that deep and rapid cuts to carbon emissions were urgently needed to avoid climate catastrophe.

The Guardian reported that an assessment undertaken by German NGO Urgewald and 50 NGO partners pointed out that virtually all oil and gas companies were planning further exploitation of fossil fuels, pouring $160 billion into exploration since 2020. This would result in 115 billion tonnes of climate-heating CO2 being pumped out, equivalent to more than 24 years of U.S. emissions. The world is far away from meeting its commitments towards global climate change.

The Guardian report also underlined that none of the investments undertaken by the global majors to explore more fossil fuel sources is compatible with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) route to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, limiting the growing climate crisis.

In the wake of the incoming energy crunch due to the squeeze on Russian oil and gas exports, some see liquefied natural gas as the answer to the impending crisis. Most of this gas, centred in North America, would be produced by fracking, but this is not the answer to the global energy requirements. “Liquefied gas is a false solution,” NGO Reclaim Finance’s Lucie Pinson asserted in the press. “The newly planned projects will come too late to solve Europe’s energy crisis. But they will lock us into a high-carbon.”

Climate Action Tracker said that countries scrambling to source more natural gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could put climate goals at risk.

“We’re witnessing a major push for expanded fossil gas (LNG) production and import capacity across the world – in Europe, Africa, North America, Asia and Australia – which could cause global emissions to reach dangerous levels,” the report quoted Bill Hare, CEO of research institute Climate Analytics as saying, highlighting the 10 biggest climate insights from 2022.

While “we need an urgent, global and coordinated response to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions to secure a safe and just future for humankind,” said Wendy Broadgate, global hub director (Sweden) for Future Earth, the world seems far from achieving its goals of keeping the global warming to 1.5° Celsius in the coming years.

Hundreds of protestors, angry about little action on the impending climate crisis, took to the streets of Lisbon on Saturday, with dozens storming a building where Portugal’s Economy Minister Antonio Costa e Silva was speaking, demanding the former oil industry executive resign.

Holding banners and chanting slogans, protesters demanded climate action.

The world needs to meet its growing energy requirements. But no one can seriously deny that, for now, fossil fuel remains the world’s principal energy source.

But the current situation cannot go on for long. Fossil fuels cannot be allowed to remain’s world’s principal source of energy for long.

However, despite verbal proclamations, global political leadership is still not convinced and does not appear to be serious about moving away from fossil fuels. Inaction is evident.

Despite serious warnings by many, including the U.N. chief, the very issue of global warming remains a hoax to many. That needs to be intellectually challenged.

Otherwise, the world is in for a major catastrophe.

Toronto-based Rashid Husain Syed is a respected energy and political analyst. Energy and the Middle East are his areas of focus. Besides writing regularly for major local and global newspapers, Rashid is also a regular speaker at major international conferences. He has provided his perspective on global energy issues to the Department of Energy in Washington and the International Energy Agency in Paris.

For interview requests, click here.


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One Response to "The world is in for a major climate change catastrophe"

  1. Michael Jacobs   November 15, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    Maybe, we could believe the seriousness if we were not lied to so often – i.e. In 1995, we were told that by 2020, Florida would have no beaches and the Maldives Islands would be underwater.
    Around 1970, these predictions were made and none happened…
    1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

    2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

    3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

    4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

    5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

    6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

    7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

    8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

    9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

    10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

    11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

    12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

    13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980 when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

    14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

    15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated that humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

    16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

    17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

    18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

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