Climate Chapter of The Crisis of Civilization book: ONLINE FREE !!
We are pleased to offer you the first chapter of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed exclusively as a free download (you can download it at the bottom of the page)
Here is the introduction to the chapter by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed:
What is climate change? Is it a product of natural cyclical variations in the Earth’s ecological systems, or is it a consequence of human activities? What are the implications of climate change for the international system? How serious are the ramifications of climate change for the continuity of modern industrial civilization? This chapter begins by confronting the major public-media debates regarding the causality of climate change, reviewing the main arguments that challenge the idea that contemporary global warming is due to fossil fuel emissions and therefore human-induced (anthropogenic). The relevant scientific literature is explored to discern whether we can be sure that climate change is happening, and why.
I then explore the implications of climate change for national security, finding that a variety of Western security agencies recognize that climate change will drastically alter the global security landscape for the foreseeable future without significant preventive action. The focus of this analysis is not to list the specific conflicts that might arise (an exercise performed frequently elsewhere),i but to assess the overarching ramifications of global warming for the ability of modern industrial civilization in its current form to survive. The analysis then extends to a critical examination of the conventional narrative of the rate of global warming as described by the United Nations Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and as generally endorsed by Western states. I argue that cutting-edge scientific research provides compelling evidence that the current rate of global warming is far faster, and bigger, than the UN models predicted. Integrating the impact of positive feedbacks in the Earth’s climate systems, suggests the probability of a worst-case climate scenario well before the end of the 21st century – unless significant preventive and mitigating actions are taken.
But such actions must go far beyond the mere question of reducing emissions. Emissions reductions have largely been addressed in a socio-political and economic vacuum, divorced from the real-world systemic changes required to drastically reduce energy consumption in general, and utilise cleaner and more energy-efficient technologies based on renewable energies in particular. Yet this inattention to the global systemic origins of the ecological crisis is part of a long-term trend, evidenced by the fact that policymakers have largely ignored several decades of dire warnings issued by the world’s leading climate and environmental scientists. Therefore, for civilization to survive beyond the 21st century will require fundamental global systemic change at the very heart of modern industrial social relations. Only in the context of such systemic change can the prospect of a post-carbon civilization that is no longer dependent on the unrelenting exploitation of hydrocarbon energies be realized.
iThis is the primary preoccupation of most studies of climate change by scholars of international relations and political science. One of the better and accessible examples of this is Gwynne Dyer, Climate Wars (London: Random House Canada, 2008).
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