Kevin Drum. )
NOAA's "State of the Climate" report, just released, has determined that 2012 has been the hottest year on record. I recommend reading TPM's Carl Franzen's post on the report. One of the big factors in the high average temperature were some of the severe summer temperatures on report, with heat records being broken left and right--and if we take a look at how Australia's summer is going, it's reasonable to say this is warm trend is global and trucking right along into 2013. One of the fearsome things regarding hotter-than-average temps in Australia is the brutal bushfire season (we can sympathize here in the States--2012 was the 3rd worst wildfire season for us) which is responsible for catastrophic losses of life and property--and yes, it definitely looks like climate change is to blame.
Fire is a pretty devastating and dramatic consequence of our extreme weather, but a more gradual, but possibly more devastating thing may be happening to our future food supply. Essentially, major grain crops that feed billions won't thrive in conditions of severe heat and absence of water. And our genetic tinkering with those crops may not help us avert the problem of how to feed ourselves on a warming planet. While it may not become a major problem in terms of food access in the US right away, it's not out of the question that it has already effected food prices in the Middle East in a way that has had political impact. Combined with other conditions of inequality, climate change will have a massive impact on the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable on our planet--first! But the impact will reverberate politically, economically, culturally--in ways it is certainly not too soon to consider. The questions regarding climate change go further than energy or jobs, industry or mere sustainability; they get right down to "Are we going to be able to feed ourselves?"
Which is pretty damn basic to our survival, right? Which is why when I hear about "preppers" sitting on bunkers full of a handful of years' supply of tinned MRE's while opposing "sustainability" and climate-related legislation for fear of a made-up Agenda 21 (you can Google this nonsense if you like), I get more than a little frustrated. Seriously? They don't know fossil-fuel business anti-green propaganda that cheats them out of their money in the short-term and all of us out of our planet when they hear it?I just don't understand people being that selfish, short-sighted and dumb. Where do they think food comes from? Stores? Magic? Let's try--human effort expended on coaxing the ecosystem to yield us its bounty--such as it is, to the best of our abilities. If the ecosystem is fucked--so are we.
We're either all sorting this stuff out together, or really--I'd hate to be them when the fucking can opener breaks.