Clem Sunter

The world of natural knocks

2013-07-05 08:38

Clem Sunter

A popular expression is that you have got to where you are today because of going to the school of hard knocks. In other words, experience has moulded your character and contributed to your learning. The teachers did the academic part and the world did the rest.

Alas, this principle does not apply to improving our environmental awareness. This year has seen a world of spectacular natural knocks and we are not even debating what we are going to do about it. Today on CNN, the weatherman said that people in California must wherever possible drink water and carry it around with them so that they do not suffer dehydration in the excessive temperatures this state is experiencing. In parts of California, temperatures are expected to hover around or even exceed 50 °C. The map was covered with deep purple over the west coast of America. Meanwhile, he also warned that from Florida to New England on the east coast heavy and drenching rains were expected. All this comes days after the tragedy of 19 firefighters from the best tactical unit in Arizona being killed in a gigantic fire as a result of high winds changing direction.

2013 has been a horrible year so far. I wrote a previous article on how the interior of Australia might become uninhabitable because of the record high temperatures reached there at the beginning of the year. European cities on major rivers have had terrible flooding and so has Calgary in western Canada. India and China, which admittedly have annual battles against extreme weather, yet again are going through the throes of having to rescue hundreds of thousands of people from rising waters. America itself has had super tornadoes making towns look as if an atomic bomb has been dropped on them.

As a scenario planner, and a foxy one at that, I feel the flags are going up everywhere to indicate a major change in climate meriting examination and appropriate action. I know that global warming has been on the radar system for a long time and we have major summits every four years. But somehow you get the impression that this issue is not being addressed with the seriousness it deserves. If terrorists had caused the damage the weather has this year, the world would be up in arms, the media would have screaming headlines and G8, G20 and the UN would be meeting every week to resolve the problem. Drastic action would have already been taken.

I know that the naysayers on climate change will have a field day with what I have said and continue to describe the whole theory as a conspiracy. I also know that another group will argue that I am missing the point and actually the whole thing comes down to overpopulation of the planet. Here we are trying to recover from the Great Recession and the last thing we need to do is go off at a tangent - that will be the retort of many political leaders.

All I can say in response is that I am not by profession an environmentalist and I do not have special axes to grind. I spent my life in business and I can see a catastrophe in the making for our children and grandchildren if we do not act now.

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