An historic week with no headlines

Two historical moments occurred this week, but the most amazing aspect was the minimum media attention that you would aspect of such mammoth news events.

Catastrophe confirmation.

Catastrophe confirmation.

Firstly, the French President Francois Hollande made a speech at the green energy conference in Abu Dhabi finally admitting the world is on course for ‘environmental collapse’, saying “The world is headed for an environmental “catastrophe” if countries do not invest in renewable energy”.

This catastrophe is historic because no high-profile G8 world leaders except Barack Obama have ever admitted the true scale of the environmental problems we see today. Mr Hollande also added “If we don’t act, if we don’t do anything, if we don’t invest anything, we can be sure that we will have a catastrophe very soon”.

Acknowledgement of this level of government has also been backed up with a glimpse into the consequences of ‘business as usual’ with this statement:

“It’s an architectural challenge, an urban challenge and an economic challenge. It’s our economic duty to promote this kind of technology like the ones we are promoting today, and we are obliged to make our planet livable for the next generation” said the French President.

Secondly, BP chief Bob Dudley in an attempt to quell increasing rumours of the peak oil issues, unwittingly intensified the debate by inadvertently agreeing that the world is having problems keeping up with oil demand.

Mr Dudley remarked, “Oil production will increase substantially with unconventional and high-carbon oil which will make up all of the increase in global oil supply toward the end of this decade.”

This one simple statement has two significant headlines in one.

The remark agrees that conventional oil production will replace with unconventional supplies such as tar sands and shale gas. High-carbon replacements which include industrial-scale coal burning will be used.

Two enormous statements with world-changing connotations from two of the world most powerful men. Each as important as the other, but both have significant game-changing and environmental consequences for everyone living on the planet.

At this significant crossroads of modern civilisation, the temptation to think we can still run our everyday lives on tar sands, shale gas and coal is a fallacy, without even taking into consideration the environmental consequences of such action.

They say admitting you have a problem is the first stage of recovery, and here we have been given the unpalatable truth about global warming and peak oil problems in the same week.

A historic week, but for the many, the unpleasant news is buried by the mainstream media.

A deadly game of tit for tat with our planet

Yesterday, I pointed out to my son that he is only the third generation of the human being to look down upon the planet in its entirety. Billions of ages before him have walked up the Earth for millions of years without ever truly knowing the world as we do today.

This situation makes it all the more unforgivable that most of us choose to ignore the apparent impact we have on our world and children’s future.

From our humble agricultural beginnings, we have used our ingenuity to change the planet for our own needs. Unfortunately, as we are only just beginning to discover, we have gone too far with exploiting our world through commerce and have terraformed our planet in a way which, is harmful to life on Earth.

As our planetary climate systems begin to work against us, it is an ironic twist of fate that as the new angrier climate state destroys our homes, towns and even cities, we will burn more CO2, clear more forestry to repair the damage. This situation is a global game of tit for tat that we cannot win!

Already this ‘burning the candle at both ends’ action is beginning to influence our ability to feed and water ourselves. Thus this is only the beginning of a much angrier and feverish state that the planet is now entering.

Human intelligence has brought two maybe three whole generations out of the natural order of things through medical and engineering prowess, but the downside of this astuteness is the erosion of our essential planetary life support systems.

As the harsher weather patterns increase, we will fell more forests and increase CO2 emissions further to rebuild and power our cities, towns and homes. A deadly game of tit for tat that humanity cannot win, so given a choice between Mr Hollande’s technological vision and Mr Dudley’s burn, burn, burn forecast, then the most intelligent answer should be Mr Hollande’s vision.

I suspect, however, the opposite will be accurate, and humanity will burn everything burnable in a desperate attempt to hold on to past glories until the planet becomes a hothouse hell.

The unpalatable truth is that we are all sleepwalking into the two most significant threats facing us all, and remain carefree, just as long as we continue to get our daily digest of celebrity gossip.

"Light is life."

Stuart Lovatt 2013-01-18