What would a map of climate change look like? We are all aware that climate change or hydric stress will not be identical everywhere. A map of climate change is not a question only for scientists or the curious; it is a political issue. The capacity to convince and mobilize opinions, which have become skeptical, hinges on this question.
The temptation to renounce preventing climate change
If scientific statements do not provide observable proof, then we will certainly throw the baby out with the bathwater… This is even more true as the temptation to renounce preventing climate change grows stronger. States that should be showing the example have been drained by the crisis. The world is divided. Everyone is focusing inward, looking for examples to rebuff, to doubt…. And what if by chance, climate change were simply a myth? Each of us could start to imagine the scientific smokescreen that would dispense us from making the daunting sacrifices demanded by the Stern report.
How can we convince Europeans to fight against global warming after one of the coldest winters in the past decades?
Climate change is far from a myth elsewhere. The drought in northern China is unprecedented. A large part of the Middle East is thirsty. Eastern Syria needs trains of water wagons to answer its demand, in a place where rain-fed agriculture was first created and where nothing has grown in the past three years.
If we want to continue to mobilize opinion, climate change should no longer be exclusively associated with the idea of warming. The concept must be perpetually associated with its own, precise map; one that clearly identifies in a recognizable fashion for each and everyone.
What does a map of climate change look like ? What will happen should the theory prove to be correct?
− First there is the increased continentalisation of temperate latitudes: with more rain, snow, floods, lower temperatures on seaboards of temperate latitudes. The phenomenon is much more noticeable on the western edges of the continents of the Northern Hemisphere: the United States, western China, Japan…. Rainfall is on the rise in mountainous regions, accompanied by all the dangers of increased torrential forces downstream. At the same time, aridness and drought are increasing at the heart of continents: the great American plains, especially west of the Mississippi; the mountain plateaus of Eurasia from the Don River to the plains in North-East China….
- Then, there is the increased aridity of almost all the tropics and the ensuingconsequences for subtropical zones: northern India, the Mediterranean, South Africa, Mexico, Central America will all be subject to increased hydric stress.
- A more complicated situation faces the Equator with pluses that could become catastrophes but also localized deficits that could upset fragile ecosystems.
This data, gathered by organisms such as the German Advisory Council on Global Change, deserve to be better known. It means that water is at the heart of tomorrow’s political issues in ways that are even more essential than foreseen by the Camdessus report, and that investments to re-equip all over the globe will be considerable. Solidarity around water issues – to prevent the damage it could engender, to compensate and manage its lack, to ensure urban water supplies – is as important as preventing the emission of greenhouse gases.
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