A Dyer global warming message

By ├ćndrew Rininsland

Blazing hot summers. Brutal winters. Hawaii sinking into the ocean. These are the images normally conjured by people in attempting to comprehend the potential disaster humanity may be facing in coming years with regards to global warming. Yet, according to world-renowned Canadian journalist and historian Gwynne Dyer, these may be the least of our problems.

“I began to realize about a year ago that some governments were starting to take an interest in climate change which you could only call worrisome,” said Dyer from his home in London Tues., Feb. 27. “Obviously there’s the whole actual climate change stuff, in the sense of, ‘Will the sea rise?’, ‘Will the temperatures change?’, rainfall patterns and all that stuff. But what they were starting to take an interest in and worry about was the actual military strategic impact of that.”

Dyer is giving a talk in MacEwan Hall Thur., March 8 entitled “The Climate Wars.” He believes the most potentially catastrophic result of global warming won’t be shrinking ice-caps or flooding metropolitan centres; rather, a two per cent increase in temperature will lead to widespread famine, causing a cascade effect in which northern nations become inundated with refugees.

“What got my attention first of all was that about a year and a half ago, the British government announced it would go for a whole new generation of nuclear weapons,” said Dyer. “The British government does a lot of scenario planning and they’ve been onto climate change for 20 or so odd years and it is pretty clear now that, if you look at the way climate change is going to affect Europe and Africa, anywhere south of the Alps is screwed, but Britain’s fine.”

“There’s going to be a whole lot of refugees from countries that are rich, industrialized and could easily make nuclear weapons in no time at all, wanting to come north.”

According to Dyer, there are two large problems facing society in the race to prevent environmental meltdown: the belief that the industrialized nations are going to go broke in the process, as well as the belief that developing nations need do as much as the G8 countries.

“People don’t seem to grasp that solving this problem could be as profitable as ignoring it,” he said. “We know [people] aren’t going to stop driving cars, what that means is, if you were only paying attention, is that here’s an opportunity for us to replace the whole stock of global automobiles. Somebody’s going to make money off of that, whether they’re hybrids or battery-powered or whatever. It’s an opportunity. It’s not an economic collapse. There’s a huge failure of the imagination at the economic level, which is why I think the United States has been such a major obstacle.”

“[Secondly,] you can tell Congo what to do, but we can’t tell China or Brazil or India what to do. Every time I go to talk to people in India, I have to sit through 45 minute lectures about the inequity of the West which is now trying to pretend we’re all equally responsible for the climate before I can get on with asking any serious questions. It drives you nuts.”

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