World War III: The war on Climate Change

Every day, we read about another weather event that is endangering life, whether it is Superstorm Sandy that affected the Caribbean and American East Coast, the Bangladesh floods of the summer of 2012, the unprecedented floods and high tides currently affecting the United Kingdom, or the incredibly high water levels in Venice that threaten to finally plunge it under the sea.

Picture of Flooding in Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Picture of Flooding in Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy (Photo: AFP/Getty)

In 2012 we have seen extreme weather events affecting every part of the world, but yet still the great nations of Earth continue to spend their money on fighting wars and military campaigns rather than investing their resources in the one war that is certain to take an increasing number of human lives in the coming years: the war against Climate Change.

Survivors return to what’s left of Breezy Point, Queens after Superstorm Sandy, where 80-100 houses were destroyed in a fire caused by the storm.

In the UK, we have gone from the worst drought in living memory to some of the heaviest rain and worst flooding since records began; whether or not you believe that humans are responsible for it, there is no doubt that we are experiencing an unprecedented level of weather-related disaster.

Picture of a fisherman taking advantage of the rising floodwater from the River Ouse in York, November 2012

Picture of a fisherman taking advantage of the rising floodwater from the River Ouse in York, November 2012 (Press Association)

For those who don’t believe that this is the case, there are some interesting statistics regarding the significant increase the number of weather-related disasters affecting the USA:

Time series of billion dollar disasters in the U.S. Credit: NOAA/NCDC

Time series of billion dollar disasters in the U.S. Credit: NOAA/NCDC

This graph show that both the number and the scale of weather-related disasters has steadily increased over the last 30 years, and so even if we are not responsible for these changes, surely we should be doing everything that we can to protect ourselves from them?

Instead, we continue to fight futile wars based on weak ideological arguments, when we really should be investing in protecting against climate change.

By the end of 2012, the major powers have spent over a trillion on defence – $1.19tn in total:

  • USA: $695.7bn
  • China: $120.0bn
  • Japan: $60.0bn
  • UK: $59.0bn
  • France: $53.0bn
  • Russia: $52.7bn

These billions are spent to ‘protect’ our nations, but at the same time these governments are doing very little to protect against climate change – why not?

In comparison, in 2008, the US spent just $31.9bn on Natural Resources & the Environment!

Some experts suggest that we are rapidly approaching the tipping point past which it will not be possible to prevent a forecast rise in the average temperature on the planet and the melting of the ice caps.

If we don’t do anything about it, there is every possibility that instead of other nations and terrorists, the greatest threat to our continued existence as nations and as a species will be climate change.

Surely the next world war should be one against climate change, and not each other?

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