[ 22/September/21 ]
Its not a fact.
It is a possibility, if we fail to act.
It seems probable to me that we will act in survivable ways, but it is by no means a certain thing.
So not a matter for doom and gloom, and something that requires serious attention.
The thing about exponential trends, is that in noisy environments they are hidden in the noise until they seemingly emerge like magic. Its not magic, just the power of exponents.
A lot of us are acting, and have been for a long time, its just that nothing much is obvious yet.
I lived for 34 years at Waitakaruru, on a swamp, very close to sea level.
I noticed what seemed to be an increasing frequency of events that took sea level very close to, and occasionally just over, the top of the banks.
22 years ago I moved to Kaikoura, and bought a house 100m above sea level. 5 years ago we had a big earthquake in Kaikoura that lifted us 1m up. So while I did seem to be noticing an increasing frequency of higher tide events (I was president of the boating club here for 15 years) the natural variability is still too high to be 100% confident that it was not all within natural range.
That is the huge problem with systems that have high noise, and big lags. By the time you can reliably measure a real change, you just know it is going to get orders of magnitude worse before it gets better.
That is why I strongly advocate for creating technologies that allow us to manage solar input, and thus mitigate any “climate change” effects, at any time scale – thus avoiding ice ages, and holding sea level where it is now, indefinitely into the future. Building ports and coastal housing and coastal infrastructure is very energy intensive – it just makes good long term sense.
The big issue, is that without global cooperation between all levels, classes and instances of agents, then technology that powerful is not likely to end well. We need fundamental reform of the economic and political systems before we can safely deploy technologies with that degree of power. It gets really complex.
And the science behind it all seemed fairly good to me 25 years ago, even as I could see many different groups hijacking the science for political and economic purposes – but that is a different set of all too real issues.
It’s kind of similar to the Nitrate in ground water issue, in the levels of complexity present, the long time lags involved, and the failure of overly simplistic approaches to adequately deal with the issues.
The air here in Kaikoura is pretty good most of the time, except when the Ausy bush fires get out of control.