CBC Radio: Climate Wars (for the iPod)

I know I said I would do a weekly "Climate Science for the iPod" feature on A Few Things, but the week after just one edition, I left for a business trip to Tasmania, Australia. So...not a good start!

I am not back yet, I am writing this in a hotel near Melbourne Tullamarine airport(ok, that's a boring link) on my way home (yea!) so still can not check all my podcast subscriptions to see what is fodder for blogging BUT in the meantime I would like to draw your attention to a three part series from CBC Radio called "Climate Wars" by Gwynne Dyer. There is a page here where you can down load all three parts for the time being. I think I will listen to all three hours if I find I can't sleep much on the 14 hour Sydney-Vancouver hop.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Get 'em while they're hot! It's an important topic. (excerpt below)

Program Excerpt

About 2 years ago I noticed that the military in various countries, and especially in the Pentagon, were beginning to take climate change seriously. Now, it's the business of the military to find new security threats. It's also in their own self-interest, since they need a constant supply of threats in order to justify their demands on the taxpayers' money, so you should always take the new threats that the soldiers discover with a grain of salt. You know, never ask the barber whether you need a haircut.

But I did start to look into this idea that global warming could lead to wars. It turned into a year-long trek talking to scientists, soldiers and politicians in a dozen different countries. I have come back from that trip seriously worried, and there are four things I learned that I think you ought to know.

The first is that a lot of the scientists who study climate change are in a state of suppressed panic these days. Things seem to be moving much faster than their models predicted.

The second thing is that the military strategists are right. Global warming is going to cause wars, because some countries will suffer a lot more than others. That will make dealing with the global problem of climate change a lot harder.

The third is that we are probably not going to meet the deadlines. The world's countries will probably not cut their greenhouse gas emissions enough, in time, to keep the warming from going past 2 degrees celsius. That is very serious.

And the fourth thing is that it may be possible to cheat on the deadlines. I think we will need a way to cheat, at least for a while, in order to avoid a global disaster.

That's what this series is going to deal with, and we'll be lucky if we get through it all in 3 episodes. But I'm going to start by giving you an example of what that global disaster might look like, and the best way to do that is with a scenario. This is NOT a prediction of what the future will look like, because there are far too many variables and sheer unknowns to predict the world of, say, 2046. It's just a plausible example of what 2046 could look like if we get it wrong over the next ten or fifteen years.

- Gwynne Dyer


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I listened to the 3 part CBC series on "Climate Wars" over the past couple of weeks.

It was not a good program. Put simply, it was colored way too much by the political and philosophical leanings of the reporter, and the selection of "experts" interviewed left much to be desired. Contravening opinions to counter some of the interviewers would have added depth.

Notably lacking was any sort of appreciationof the various outcomes possible and the trade-offs that will be made, not only in climate policy but also wrt general foreign policy.

I was hoping the CBC would have stayed with the science, and with the strategic implications of climate change, as studied by more serious military and foreign policy analysts.

In my opinion the largest threat for California are cataclysms and ecological catastrophes. Not important is how many money we have because one tragedy can us take all.