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While government representatives sit idly, debating over cocktails whether to do something about global climate change with carbon trading schemes, their own houses are afire. Climate change, left unchecked, will doom every government on the planet, and it will happen much sooner than they presently imagine.

Because of the incredible overpopulation of the Earth, rapidly approaching seven billion people at a growth rate of 200,000 each day, the demand for food will soon out-strip that of the planet's ability to provide it. Let's face a few facts:
The oceans are all but fished-out, with food-fish stocks collapsing in many areas;
World phosphate fertilizer supplies are being rapidly depleted, and will be gone by late this century;
Peak Oil guarantees an approaching explosion in oil prices and severe and growing shortages, rendering energy for tractors, pumps, combines, refrigerators, and transportation prohibitively expensive.
Combine these realities with the compounding effects of climate change on agriculture as evidenced by recent events in Russia, and you can easily imagine that food supplies will be dropping dramatically along with the collapsing economies.

Lacking rain or extreme flood events, blistering heat and severe storms will destroy the ability of humans to produce food. This will destabilize governments in two ways: sharply reduced tax revenue due to lack of trade, and restive, hungry populations. Already there is increasing evidence from both the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and German government defense analysis that the stress of increasing heat is causing an upsurge in conflict in some areas of the world.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has already acknowledged the rapidly growing threat in its Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which states

"Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration. While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas."

Unable to long sustain police and military forces without tax revenue to pay them, governments will soon be held at the mercy of mobs of hungry and starving people demanding to be fed, and willing to go after the food where ever they find it. Quoting from The Coming Extinction of Humanity:

"Water shortages for both drinking and irrigation will expand. Crops will whither for lack of water, and farmers will wait for rains that will not come.
Livestock, too, will be without adequate water as streams and rivers shrink and disappear in the growing heat. Without fuel for pumps, even what water is available will be inaccessible. Sheep and cattle will die in the fields.
Eventually herds will be slaughtered for food, and all remaining grains will be consumed directly by humans, which will alleviate, or at least delay, some of the worst famine. Precious stores of grain will be doled out to hungry millions, who will wonder where their next meal will come from."

This terrifying scenario is not empty rhetoric. Climate change will be a self-accelerating effect, as growing CO2 and atmospheric heat begin to melt the vast stores of methane clathrates which will cause a rapid feedback loop of heating far beyond the ability of humans to respond or adapt. Nor will other species be able to cope with the abrupt disappearance of their habitats. The process is already underway.

Again, quoting from the DoD QDR:

"...climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters. Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows."

Once the readily-available food supplies are consumed, urban populations will raid zoos and preserves, while rural residents will turn to 'bush meat' and rapidly deplete wildlife, driving hundreds of species to immediate extinction. Yet even that will not be enough to sustain the billions of humans.

And again from The Coming Extinction...:

"The scene will be repeated across the globe, with serious impacts even in 'first-world' nations such as Japan, France, Britain, and the United States. Brasil, Venezuela, Mexico, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and many nations in both coastal and interior Africa will also be severely impacted. No place on Earth will be out of the reach of the calamity.
While these competing waves of hungry and unsheltered populations are scouring the countryside for food, the receiving populations will be attempting to defend the little they have. Because of the inevitable resistance to the refugees from existing populations, conflict will be unavoidable."

Governments will quickly find their backs to the wall as normally well-behaved populations become increasingly restive, and then outright rebellious and ungovernable. Government, stripped of its resources, will be powerless to act, or even defend its own interests. From The Coming Extinction...:

"Hunger is a powerful motivation, and normally law-abiding people will be forced to steal, fight, or die. In fact, all three will be inevitable on a mind-numbing scale. Scarce resources will be wasted in warfare. Food shortages will grow, rioting will occur, and mass starvation will become common.
While the forces of order will attempt to sustain laws and the authority of government, they will be strained to the breaking point and beyond by the rising tide of chaos.
The immense scale of the problem will overwhelm aid efforts, which will be largely ineffectual. The United Nations will attempt to muster resources, but will only be able to address the most limited issues as food shortages worsen in the major grain-growing nations as well.
Governments will reel in reaction to the outrage and pain of their citizens, and there will be no comfort for those who feel they have failed."

Once government credibility is destroyed by famine and ineffective response, there will be no role left for them.

Governments of the world need to come to the realization that their own self-preservation and that of their citizens is at stake when they consider the climate change issue. Nothing less than our strongest efforts will avert the potential tragedy.

Crossposted at

Originally posted to RobertConnors on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 10:14 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    R.J. Connors is an environmental writer, and author of 'The Coming Extinction of Humanity'

    by RobertConnors on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 10:14:31 AM PDT

  •  everyone knows (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, allep10

    the U.S. Department of Defense is just a bunch of tree-hugging hippies.

    They use science to fly their planes around, so they are also a bunch of nerdy geeks.

    /snark off

    There is no Planet B.

    We are stuck here arguing with people who will never learn, don't listen.

    The coming extinction cannot happen soon enough, IMO. It is the only hope our species might have of enduring in the long run.

  •  Our Energy to have no Energy Policy. (4+ / 0-)
  •  Governments will survive. Nations won't. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 10:33:04 AM PDT

  •  Soylent Green is people! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mmmm,,,,, soylent green.

    "Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy" Hermann Goering (NRSC?)

    by irate on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 10:52:28 AM PDT

  •  Thank You for this Diary (3+ / 0-)

    I would like to add:

    Grist: Climate change poses big risks to China’s crops and economy

    Independant:: Climate: Risks loom for China: study

    Summarizing the results of a chinese study recently published in Nature that conclude what we on the ground alrady know, that our weather has been changing noticeably over the past ten years or so growing more extreme with higher temperatures, incresing dessetfication in the North and progrsively more severe monsoons and flooding affecting the sub-tropical and temperate zones.

    No one has to explain the implications of famine to Chinese, history has already taught us that.

    We are past the deadline. We need to speed-up action.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:16:18 AM PDT

    •  Yes, the threats are severe... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, In her own Voice, allep10

      We can only imagine the conditions that would result from a new famine today, with the Earth's burgeoning populations, especially in Asia. The most fearsome part of this situation is that there will be no available relief from outside, since the crisis will be global in nature. For what it is worth, my book is dedicated to my two grandsons, "who will face the consequences."

      R.J. Connors is an environmental writer, and author of 'The Coming Extinction of Humanity'

      by RobertConnors on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:49:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As is my sig line. (0+ / 0-)

        I've been active in environmentalism for about 20 year but nothing has motivated me more than the birth of my "one child" daughter. It's good excercise to ask yourself everyday what kind of world we are leaving our children.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 04:26:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm proud of you... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          for making this a 'cause' in your life. We are really in trouble, and so few seem to realize it. Are they all blind? What can we do to get the attention of the masses?

          R.J. Connors is an environmental writer, and author of 'The Coming Extinction of Humanity'

          by RobertConnors on Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 03:00:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What you are doing. (0+ / 0-)

            And what I do. Write, blos, talk, march and prod every chance you get, and live the change you want to be.

            It's pretty easy for me to remember, the effect of pollution and global warming is in our faces here in China, what I think is more difficult is to convice people who don't have to face it in their daily lives and tune it out.

            After this summer, I hope people arounf the world will wake up about the problem human behavior has created, unfortunately I believe we will has many more distasters before the world gets serious about it, and even then people are going to suffer.

            Pakisatain is the new poster child for the effects global warming is having on the world's poor but it's just the latest one.

            One world, one atmosphere.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 08:20:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  It is the end of the world, someone save us. (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
  •  What this nation needs: (0+ / 0-)

    I sent this to a few months ago.  Still true now.  Thanks for your diary!!

    To date the energy issue seems to be a sideshow.  It needs to be the intense focus of the “Change We Can Believe In” administration.  It needs to be the issue that is woven into every facet of American politics and people’s thinking.  The American people need to be sold on an Energy New Deal  domestically, a Fight Terror with Energy Conservation for our national security, an Energy Marshall Plan for our foreign aid, and a Clean Energy/Clean Environment initiative for our environment.  The ideas are endless; it’s the focus that is needed.

    It should be sold to the American public with patriotism, patriotism and more patriotism.  It should be spoken about with an abundance of hope and optimism.  As freedom gardens, war bonds, and ration coupons united us in WWII, Americans should be given a myriad of ways to participate in this “Change We Can Believe In” program.  

    The Administration needs to enthusiastically endorse Al Gore’s call for energy independence in 10 years the way Kennedy challenged the nation to put a man on the moon. The “Yes We Can” tag line should be permanently tied to this challenge.  

    I believe Americans will willingly sacrifice if they are convinced that “Yes We Can” make the change, that the program offered is “Change We Can Believe In”.   I believe Americans will have the “Audacity to Hope” if this administration emerges with the audacity to offer such a program.

    Born OK the first time.

    by Road Dog on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 10:15:12 PM PDT

  •  Who plans ahead? (0+ / 0-)

    Intel plans ahead as well as other successful technology firms.  Germany, Japan, and China plan ahead.  Many of the larger corporation have plans which they do not make public.  

    From foreign occupations to road and bridge maintenance, the US Government seems incapable of planning ahead.  The financial collapse of 2008 and the flooding of New Orleans could have been prevented.  Knowledgeable experts warned of these problems ahead of time.  But US government reacts to crises instead of preventing them.  

    A number of reasons can be presented that explain the lack of planning.  My favorite is attention deficit syndrome.  Americans quickly get bored.

    Any attempt to address the environmental, resource, population problems will require planning ahead.

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