Ruben Bolling at 9:05 am Wed, Nov 7, 2012
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People have been dying from climate change for years now. Desertification in Africa, global food shortages due to drought and flood…starvation and conflicts driven by refugee crises are the new norm in much of the world.
The grim fact is that those of us in the first world – especially the US – will always be the last to suffer. Any damage that climate change can do, the US can compensate for by extracting more wealth and resources from the people and land in the rest of the world. Even in NYC, we can see how quickly the city recovers itself. Not perfect, but people are still dying in Haiti from disasters that happened years ago.
In short, first-worlders are not going to “wake up” when they see how bad the impacts of climate change are. They will always be insulated from those impacts. Millions will die before we are even inconvenienced. We cannot wait for things to get worse. We must halt the carbon industries now, by any means necessary.
The grim fact is that those of us in the first world – especially the US – will always be the last to suffer.
Tell that to the East Coast.
Right now, we’re suffering in a pretty much first-world-problems sort of way.
That will be a comfort to the 113 that have died so far. But yes, I agree with the larger point that nations with limited infrastructure suffer much more drastically.
I don’t mean to belittle those who were hurt or killed or the tragedy for their families. That’s terrible anywhere in the world. It’s really the larger point I intended to make, and I’m sorry I missed the mark by being flip.
What’s the death toll from Sandy in the US? 85, last time I checked. That’s 1 in every 1,325,205 people who live on the East Coast. Not to be insensitive – after all, even 1 death is a tragedy – but compare that to the death toll in Haiti: 1 in 155,750 deaths. That’s almost 10 times the death toll from the same storm! Also factor in that much of the population of Haiti was already officially unaccounted for, living in shanties or refugee camps – it’s likely that the official Hatian count is too low.
I feel bad for the American victims of climate change, but what we’re going through is a faint shadow of what the world’s poor have been living for years now.
Yes, and the twisted irony that people who’ll be the most devastated by climate change profited the least from our rampant consumption that contributed to it.
I agree with you that other parts of the world are certainly getting the brunt of climate change’s disastrous effects as I mentioned previously here at DM:
But, my point to you was that we shouldn’t downplay how bad it’s going to affect ALL of us. Can you imagine the death toll in NYC if this had been a category 4 or 5 hurricane of Sandy’s trajectory and immense size? It would’ve very likely wiped many of those other death tolls off the map with NYC being under 20+ feet of water. So while we are doing relative comparisons… that would have made Katrina look like a field day.
As the oceans continue to warm, there’s no reason not to believe this isn’t possible in the relatively near future. These “100 year storms” are happening around every 7 years nowadays on the East Coast.
Also, all those fires out here in the West haven’t been a thrillfest either. I got to see blood-red skies and breathe toxic air this summer in the United States.
Look, we’re ALL in for a hell ride. I just wish the conservative climate change deniers were the first to go instead of taking the rest of us down with them.
Millions of people in South/Central Asia have been living in tent camps for years now due to unprecedented flooding.
Right, I think you might have missed my followup comment above.
Disqus doesn’t show me full context on the back side anymore. Irksome.
What about the Dust Bowl of the 1930s being caused by irresponsible farming and irrigation, the destruction of habitat and wildlife, and the decimation of forests and plains trees?
I agree, but there is one point I would like to contest if possible, more for the record than anything else. Desertification in Africa is hugely overstated, the issue is a lot more contested among human geographers than it would seem to most people. The current discourse is
that desertification, while widely reported by popular media, is not in fact desertification, rather, it is land degradation.
It sounds like semantics, but it isn’t. Desertification is caused by climate change, and is nigh irrevesrible (Israel have reversed some, but at huge expense). Land degradation results from poor land use, often from commercial farming. More of a dustbowl type scenario. Traditional farming methods are increasingly being seen as ways to combat this land degradation, which is thankfully much easier to deal with than land degradation.
(In way of references: H.E. Dregne, J.A. Binns, Ridley Nelson (UN Envorinment Department))
I hope he remembered to close the door and lock his car elevator in the up position.
I’d like to see a TTDB were Percival Dunwoody and Charley the Australopithecine join forces to give that arrogant Hound his comeuppance. If I had Hollingsworth type dough, I’d commission Mr. Bolling to draw it.
I truly love psychosis so
and so I’ll never let it go
I’ll kiss it on the mouth a lot
a lot a lot a lot a lot.
I’m no climate change denialist, but is it a foregone conclusion that the recent hurricane is caused by global warming? I thought we had a solid 20 or 30 years before severe changes were felt.
It’s not possible to definitively blame anything on anthropogenic global warming and only it, but global warming has most certainly contributed to the increased frequency and strength of hurricanes etc.
We have 30 years before the effects of TODAY’s pollution is felt. We’ve been actively destroying the planet for 150 years, though.
Yeah, I’m sure the polar ice cap melting is just a bizarre coincidence. Actions don’t really have consequences, that’s just liberal propaganda.
So-called “global warming” is a symptom. The disease is pollution of shared commons like air and water.
We’ve been feeling severe changes since long before I was born; we’re in the middle of a mass extinction event already.
I believe the “big five” known mass extinction events all lasted longer than the human species has existed. It used to take a significant amount of time to modify the Earth’s biosphere to the point that more than 50% of all animal species could no longer survive. But humans are setting a new record this time around…
An analogy I heard on NPR the other day: imagine raising the floor of a basketball court by 6 inches. There are going to be a lot more dunk shots. No individual shot is directly caused by raising the floor, but the statistics will be affected.
Likewise global warming says that we will have more extreme weather; larger storms, hotter summers, colder winters, perhaps wetter or drier, depending on location. No individual event directly caused by warming, but the statistics are affected.
One interesting thing, plant hardiness zones are moving north. This is a longer term average type thing. Again, no particular event directly caused by warming, but there’s a trend.
And of course it depends on what you mean by “severe”. Some folks thought Sandy was pretty severe, others may hold out for a storm of Hollywood special effects magnitude.
And deserts, some newly created, are moving north at about the same rate as the “plant hardiness” zones. So, for example, wheat and rice will no longer grow where we’ve put all our wheat and rice farms, and their associated irrigation systems.
It would probably be easier just to lower the baskets.
Not if there’s less money in it.
Wouldn’t it be easier to simply lower the basket, or hoop, by six inches?
The observation that rich people can ride out a lot of society’s problems is not worth the effort of drawing or reading this comic.
But still worth making comments on?
Fracking is contributing to global warning?
That’s it! That’s the last time I take scientific data from a cartoon!
Don’t be too hasty to write off cartoons! There’s scientific data to support that conclusion. “Using all available information and the latest climate science, we conclude that for most uses, the GHG footprint of shale gas is greater than that of other fossil fuels on time scales of up to 100 years.” http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/howarth/Howarthetal2012_Final.pdf
Compared to oil and coal, natural gas contributes less, compared to geothermal, wind solar, significantly more, unless new techniques are used for carbon sequestration. Also depends on methane leakage with fracking.
Of course this features Chicken Little instead of Lucky Ducky, since there is no gotcha, but I appreciate his cameo on the roof.
Does anybody think this could be by design? The rich countries of the world will be able to weather the storm, if you pardon the expression, of climate change. Once we have pushed the poorer, less resource rich nations to unescapable poverty, we magnanimously come to the rescue, scoop them up for nearly free after any resistance has been starved, reverse our course of climate destruction, and retain our place at the top. I’m glad I’m in a rich nation, it’s a terrible time to be poor.
In fact, the idea that global warming will harm the US less than it does most of its biggest competitors has been given as a reason not to do anything about it, but your scenario ignores the fact that there is no short term way to reverse our course.
The reasons are far simpler than that – any politician who brought about the kinds of changes we need to make in order to handle these problems would be lucky to go down in history as the most hated man in his country. Since he will be up for reelection long before any benefits are brought about by his new policy, he’ll be replaced by someone who will immediately cancel everything he did. His political career will be over, and he will have accomplished nothing…
No democracy will ever do anything positive about global warming unless they have no choice (because they have no access to fossil fuels at a remotely affordable price.)
Plus, of course, even if the US completely stopped burning fossil fuels, they’d just get burned in China or India instead.
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