I’ve just finished reading Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars”, a chilling – if you’ll pardon the pun- sequel to his earlier novel “War”. Both are very easy to read, yet sobering experiences. Gwynne Dyer knows what he’s talking about. This is in stark contrast to the ill-informed public (that excludes the present company, of course) which has no comprehension of the scale of the climate change issue. Theirs is usually a self-centred view, filtered through rose-tinted glasses. The only information they seem willing or able to access is the rubbish piled on the web by the small-yet-prolific band of nay-sayers, most of whom fall into the categories of “very stupid” or who appear to have vested interests in maintaining the status quo. I’m particularly annoyed by those with civic or political responsibilities, who use the debate to justify a fence-sitting posture designed to garner maximum political leverage (i.e., votes).
As Dyer points out in the later chapters of his book, the long-term effects – on time scales of centuries or more – are possibly catastrophic for life as we know it. But its the earlier chapters that really scare me. For many, a slightly warmer climate, or a few cm rise in sea level may seem of little consequence. But Dyer raises several spectres of climate change triggering political instabilities which could have dire consequences in the next few decades. I hope the people who matter are listening. The book should be compulsory reading for all would-be civic leaders and political decision makers. Because of past inaction, they now have a hard row to hoe to keep us out of hot water. And if they can’t stand the heat, they should get out of the kitchen.