There are many natural factors which influence climate on our precarious rock, such as changes in the Earth’s tilt, major volcanic eruptions (most notably the Krakatoa in recent memory), the sun doing it’s job, that one thing that killed all the dinosaurs, America, and that one fire that’s always been burning (in Mount Doom I believe. Or the white house).
While our current round of climate change is unique in its causes, its effects, including its effects on human societies, are not completely unprecedented. By looking back into history, can we predict how climate change will affect the political world in the near future? (and short the correct stocks and sovereign wealth funds?)
Notable recent climate change events include:
The latest ice age , which ended about 12,000 years ago. (there have been ~5 since the dawn of earth).
The early Holocene sea level rise: a significant jump in sea level by about 60 m during the early Holocene, between about 12,000 and 7,000 years ago,
The creatively named 8.2-kiloyear event, a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6,200 BC, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.
The Roman Warm Period, a period of unusually warm weather in Europe and the North Atlantic that ran from approximately 250 BC to AD 400
The Medieval Warm Period, a time of warm climate in the North Atlantic region that may have been related to other warming events in other regions during that time, including China and other areas, lasting from c. 950 to c. 1250.
The Little Ice Age (spoiler: not a real ice age), occurring in the early 14th century through the mid-19th century, when mountain glaciers expanded at several locations, including the European Alps, New Zealand, Alaska, and the southern Andes, and mean annual temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere declined by 0.6 °C (1.1 °F) relative to the average temperature between 1000 and 2000 CE.
Such climate events can affect the course of human history: the Toba catastrophe theory holds that the holds that Toba supereruption caused a global volcanic winter of six to ten years and possibly a 1,000-year-long cooling episode and caused a genetic bottleneck for humans 70,000 years ago. The Great Famine of 1315–17 started with bad weather in spring 1315 and resulted in extreme levels of crime, disease, mass death, and even cannibalism and infanticide. And we all know that changes in the sea level can cause entire civilizations to disappear.
So, what’s going to happen over the next 100 years, and how will humans deal with it? Unless you’re banking on the sigularity happening before then you should probably be concerned. Climate refugees are already a thing. How should the global governance of the future deal with such large concurrent displacements of peoples? Join tomorrow 6pm at the Sovereignty Lounge to plan your (and humankind’s) future!
In fact in the abstract of this Science article on how Asylum applications respond to temperature fluctuations:
International negotiations on climate change, along with recent upsurges in migration across the Mediterranean Sea, have highlighted the need to better understand the possible effects of climate change on human migration—in particular, across national borders. Here we examine how, in the recent past (2000–2014), weather variations in 103 source countries translated into asylum applications to the European Union, which averaged 351,000 per year in our sample. We find that temperatures that deviated from the moderate optimum (~20°C) increased asylum applications in a nonlinear fashion, which implies an accelerated increase under continued future warming. Holding everything else constant, asylum applications by the end of the century are predicted to increase, on average, by 28% (98,000 additional asylum applications per year) under representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenario 4.5 and by 188% (660,000 additional applications per year) under RCP 8.5 for the 21 climate models in the NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP).
For your entertainment, musing and refleciton, I’ll leave this article from Naitonal Geographic on how coastlines would change wiht sea level rises: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2013/09/rising-seas-ice-melt-new-shoreline-maps/
Eduardo & Dylan
PS: This weeks discussion was brought to you by our very own Secretary (of State), Mr. Dylan Bannon