“How sure are you that the climate change is real? How sure are you that Global Warming is happening? Everything seems fine, why are you worrying?” Those are the common questions thrown to me, often when I start raising some flags on my Facebook on recent natural disasters or unusual weather phenomena happenings. The journey to these inconvenient findings came a few years ago, passion is always found in a series of escalating plots, through the different unfolding events and people I met. While I know that I am very convinced that we are in the midst of facing the biggest problem ever since we stepped out from the caves, i do not dare to say that I am bold enough to do a public presentation like how Bill Mckibben always does, which never fails to amaze me for being a walking literature. But I know I will be there, I am just in the midst of linking up the dots.
The first account of encountering this is James Martin’s “The Meaning of the 21st Century“, it’s the first book I read from cover to cover during my college years. It accounts the 16 mega problems mankind face that questions if our existence is well beyond the 21st century, with most of the problem originated from the cause of bad management and absence of foresight, which includes Global Warming and Over Population well enough. Following up then, I started to get involved into activities particularly United Nations University, with one of its conference in New Delhi that shown me how does global warming sound like on the table of politicians. It is there that I saw politicians from surrounding 8 countries (India, Bhutan, Nepal. Afghanistan etc) coming together and debating on the water security of the region as various studies have shown that Glacier in Himalaya is retreating, thus a concern for the water supply for 1.5 billion people.
The problem of climate change is a complex context itself, particularly to the aspect of socio or geopolitics. It’s any nation greed to secure it’s food, water, and energy security for the reason of economics well-being, this made it even more complex. That’s why sometimes I am of the opinion that economics might be the death that we have invented for not accounting environmental damages in. I am certain for global climate destabilization because of the unfolding events happening around, sometimes I wish that I am a meteorologist to understand what is really happening. I don’t need to be a scientist to push the idea across, it’s true that you cannot judge on the evident of climate destabilization by a single event alone, but we do have series of natural disasters, with increasing frequency and intensity, that’s for sure. Certainly, you don’t need to be a scientist but a person who has stayed in the same place for a dozen of years and to experience something different, the stories are well convinced.
Polar Vortex- January 2014
It became one of the most Googled words. Polar Vortex is the new buzzword for many Americans trying to break the mysteries in the extreme cold weather, the cold air jet stream that escaped from the Arctic sent down chilly weathers across the US, Canada, and Russia. Various researchers are ongoing and currently focusing on the Arctic, reason being is that as the overall globe temperature increases (0.6 degrees since early 20th century), the arctic is the first place to reflect such changes in climate temperature.
Even Dr. John Holdren, president Obama’s Science and Technology from the White House stated that extreme weather will be the norm in the time to come.
“Whether this is normal randomness or related to the significant climate changes occurring in the Arctic is not entirely clear, especially when considering individual events. But less sea ice and snow cover in the Arctic and relatively warmer Arctic air temperatures at the end of autumn suggest a more wavy jet stream pattern and more variability between the straight and wavy pattern.” As extracted from NOAA Website
The increase of heat content in the ocean is the concern
While some might think that ‘global’ warming’ is to feel the weather is getting hotter and hotter, it is definitely way more complex than that, various parts of the world have already seen how the seasonal climate duration is changing. The world is getting warmer, no doubt on that, it is not measured by air temperature, but the heat content is a more significant observation tool as the acidity also increases due to more intake of carbon from the atmosphere. NOAA recently wrote a piece citing on the increasing heat content in the ocean.
As we all know that liquid carries heat content far more than the atmosphere, with this, it can also affect atmospheric temperature and pressure significantly, causing stronger typhoons, or drier droughts. There are just so many signs that show global climate destabilization is happening everywhere by the means of extreme or off record weathers. While there are dozens of events happened for the past years, I managed to find this interactive chart to help you understand better exactly on what extreme weather I am talking about. Or VISIT HERE for the full chart.
There are of course dozens of extreme weather events in 2013. North China and Russia have been impacted by heavy rains. More than 140 Russian towns saw their worst flooding in 120 years. During July 21-22, 11 stations around Beijing broke historical rainfall records, damaging-suffering 1.9million people with 77 people dead, and economic loss of $1.5bil USD.
Australia recorded its warmest year on record. The warmth was also notable because it was widespread across the country, with every state and the Northern Territory ranking among their four warmest years on record (NOAA). The country recorded its hottest day on January 7 – a month which also saw the hottest week and the hottest month since records began in 1910. And not forgetting also the bush fires that swept through New South Wales.
The UK also experienced its coldest spring since 1962. And also not forgetting Typhoon Haiyan with the wind speed of 195 miles per hour and causing an increase in the wave by 13 feet, the off the chart category of its own hurricane that took almost 2000 peoples’ live and displaces half million population. It is also another event of evident that such catastrophic climate event will bring economic loss, mainly on agricultural damage. In a total of $225 mil damage, Philippines has to increase its imports on various agriculture by 10% to 20% due to vast agricultural and fisheries industry collapsed due to the disaster.
While all these extreme weather events are subjected to different debates and reasoning between scientists to debate about, to conclude if it’s an act of climate destabilization, I am convinced by the frequency and intensity of events certainly is paving its way for an inconvenient result. While some could have said Malaysia is saved and free from natural disaster, we do see some signs, as no doubt that we are part of the global climate system. I once wrote that Malaysia is still safe, ‘for now’. We are in the vibe of economic development. be it GTP ETP or whatever vision 2020, we do not see a pinch in our economic development yet, resulted from extreme climate events.
Because Malaysia is still Happily “Developing”
There are various countries facing heavy consequences from the global carbon emission. Carried out as an indicator name CCVI Climate Change Vulnerable Index, this map shows the 10 countries who are worst hit by extreme climate event as per early 2012 (Anna 2012). Typically, are that area with least developed and lack of infrastructure to encounter such events.
But yes we do see that the east cost (Kelantan,Terengganu, and Pahang) has been receiving additional rainfall, especially last December 2013 with almost 100,000 people evacuated. It seems that the east coast is getting used to frequent flood due to heavier precipitation. The flooding event was the reason why I wrote back in early 2012 but never expected it to be happening and even worse now. It seems so well that the evacuation centers are now well established and expecting for few more rounds soon.
I really wonder if he said that or it’s just the media interpretation. Will be interested to know on the methodology to prove on how the excessive rainfall event is tied to climate change. But look no further, a week or two ago we just got a happy news that this CNY will be celebrated with chilly weather, thanks to the wind being blown down from China and Russia. It is usual that January is the coldest month of the year, but the extra chill weather from China and Russia is passed down via north-easterly winds, making it colder. Faizal from GEC did suggest a linkage with the overall global climate phenomena (but yea was looking forward to a detailed literature explain), but farmers who are involved in agriculture, who are deeply tied to weather condition did feel the pinch already with the extending of maturity period of their crops, thus affecting sales.
So back to the main question again is global climate destabilization a myth? The answer depends on you. And as on the account of numerous times of having this topic with Malaysians, my instinct tells me that most of us know what is global warming from the very scratch, which is ‘weather getting hotter’. Hmm! Of course, there are much more to know about that.. including Donald Triumph himself.
I can’t help but blame on few things based on my observation, for the local Malaysian context, on why we all are still so lazy to take action:
- Media Coverage and Accuracy
No doubt, but cannot be blamed on Media as a whole as well as there are not many extreme weather cases happening so far to be covered upon. (Ohh but there are dozens of environmental issues deserving attention but unfortunately not covered). My concern on media is not merely whether they are reporting on the event, but rather, on the information accuracy of it. I was disappointed during the flood that no further investigation or coverage was done by allowing the public to understand the heavy precipitation better, rather announcing which politicians or which agency is pouring in aid etc. No doubt also that media as a whole can turn things around by giving misinformation. Global Warming can be a very misleading word if the public, in general, doesn’t take effort on trying to understanding the whole simple analogy of climate destabilization.
A new poll from Yale University and George Mason shows that the percentage of Americans who don’t believe in climate change rose 7% in 2013 to 23% of the entire population. While 63% of the general public believes that climate change is occurring, only 47% believe that human activities are to blame. The poll also revealed that less than 50% of Americans believe that climate change will affect their lives, but 65% say that it could harm future generations. SOURCE
- Because Climate Destabilization hasn’t Affected us in $ yet
Yes, it is that simple, the government won’t take steps into climate change mitigation unless there is a sound economic value to it. And as per current economic model, cutting down the nation’s carbon emission will not help the countries in $ directly, unless there is a financial mechanism involving carbon already existed and being practiced by Malaysian Government then am not sure about. Geographically climate speaking, we are not as vulnerable as Philippines and Taiwan who are exposed to pacific ocean typhoons/hurricanes.. we are not a nation positioned in a huge land mass and constantly having ocean around us working as a heat capacitor ensuring minimal extreme temperature differences.. (theoretically speaking), we have yet to face huge extreme climate events that will affect our economy yet to grab our politicians’ attentions.
I once remember in a monthly social gathering of my ‘green’ friends, after the documentary, we had a discussion and someone said: “It’s so hard to talk about climate change with religion centered people”. I think I could well relate to that, as many times I spoke about this to my Christian friends, all they will just say is that “the signs are showing, it is all in the book of Revelation, Jesus is coming again! Repent!” And they will just respond by “Just Pray”. I do not generalize every Christian and religion in this way, but the fact is that sometimes Religion can blind us so much from the world we are living in to move on with what Faith asked us to do with the scripture. Sometimes we choose to be in an enclosed place call “The Church” and fill our ears on sermons of sins, redemption, and forgiveness, but not interpreting the scripture we behold to, to the daily life we are living in with the people around us. There are issues to be thought about outside here in the place He created.
So thinking that Climate Destabilization is somewhat true? Please question scientifically and fair, and if you do find that this is a journey of yours as a mankind to save your future generation, here’s a video for you.
Start rolling the ball, start questioning on what you learn on 350.org Do The Math HERE. IF you feel like you are keen and concerned to do something about it, do it from the very fundamental basic steps, save energy as simple as that, in a wide spectrum of application, from the house you live in, to the transport you use and to the food you eat. Feel like doing more for the activist movement? keep in touch with me 😉