While the issue of global warming seems an intractable problem of the modern world, which has been the subject of thousands articles and books, the society is still generally passive about the deadly impact of the increase in the temperatures on our planet. One of the reasons is that large multi-national corporations reaping huge profits of ecologically disruptive production spend millions of dollars to convince people that climate change is a distant future and that it is not as bad as it actually is. Yet, as Mark Hertsgaard states, “Climate change had arrived a century sooner than expected”, so that the humanity will unavoidably have “to live through global warning, even as we halt and reverse it” (Hartsgaard, “HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth”). THESIS STATEMENT: The immediate result of the increase in global warming is the increase of temperature on the planet Earth and the rise of sea level. This chain of unavoidable changes in nature will lead to the global disaster as mass flooding, droughts, and deadly heat waves will bring about the global shortage of food and water or destroy all living things.
First of all, let us find out what a global disaster is. Whereas the term seems somewhat vague, it is better to refer to formal definitions of the latter. According to the 2002 World Health Organization definition, a disaster is “an occurrence disrupting the normal conditions of existence and causing a level of suffering that exceeds the capacity of adjustment of the affected community”. While this definition clearly focuses on a particular affected community, the adjective “global” used along with “disaster” makes it clear that the suffering community will be all humans, just as global means all-inclusive and worldwide. It is not only a natural planetary disaster that may disrupt the living conditions of the humanity. It may well be a global disaster of the social origin, i.e. a global war. Yet, whatever happens the roots are deep in the increase in the global warming.
Let us look into both options. First, let us consider the possibility of the global natural disaster as a result of the global warming increase. Based on Hartsgaard’s book, it becomes clear that “the second era of global warming” we now live in is not just a neat combination of words. It is a well-grounded premise for the total overturn of the nature’s cycle. Modern changes in the nature already foreshadow the grim future as the global natural disaster is moving on us faster than expected. According to the author, even if the humanity somehow stopped emitting greenhouse gases, the consequences of the industrialization will be affecting the generations for the hundreds of years to come (Hartsgaard, “HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth”). The following chain of events, as Hartsgaard explicitly shows, is fatal for the nature. The emissions of greenhouse gases lead to increase in the temperature; the latter causes the rise in sea level as ice starts melting in the farthest and coldest places of our planet. It is not hard to assume that the rise of the sea level may lead to the flooding which will either bury everything alive to leave only a few spots for survival. To illustrate, Haartsgard writes, “According to the scientists I interviewed, many, many things have to happen by 2020 if this planet is to remain a livable place.” (Hartsgaard, “HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth”). On the other hand, the effects of the increase in global warming are far more far-reaching. One of the deadly effects may be deadly heat waves which are already frequent on Earth. These may lead to prolonged and drier droughts and increase in the number of brush fires. The longer and drier periods of droughts may surely mean that the supplies of food and water will considerably reduce. Once food becomes unavailable, the humanity as a species risks becoming extinct. According to Hartsgaard, “Floods kill thousands, drought can kill millions,” so within only two decades, the sheer number of people living in “water-stressed countries” is likely to increase and reach three billion from 800 million.” (Hartsgaard, “HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth”). Secondly, the consequence of the increase in global warming may be of social nature. As floods and droughts cause food shortage over large territories, the struggle for food is likely to escalate. Besides, people will predictably start migrating over large distances (Hartsgaard, “HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth”). Under the circumstances of the already over-crowded planet, it is highly likely the people start fighting for the territories. Once they do, the weapon of mass destruction may be used and the World War 3 will break out. It is hardly dubious that this global disaster will leave anything or anyone alive on what once used to be our planet Earth.
Now that we have proved the imminence of the global disaster given Haartsgard evidence, let us supply our arguments with more examples from HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. First of all, it is worth noting that the fatal chain of global warming effects, which is likely to affect us in the nearest 50 years, is not a Haartsgaard’s idea. To collect his data, the reporter interviewed not only scientists, but also politicians, business executives, and laymen. This has helped him to form a clear view of the problem. For instance, having interviewed David King, who was once Britain’s principal climate scientist, the author realized that the climate change that was rooted in human activity is not a distant and unreal threat but the reality that is already upon us. Given the modern trajectory of human “progress” (namely, economic, political, and cultural) the situation with climate is guaranteed to deteriorate much worse before the humanity makes it any attempt to improve it. The good news from Hartsgaard here is that mitigation efforts will still help to control the degree of the human-caused dramatic changes to the environment – if we choose to stop to live the comfortable and wasteful lives they live ( Hartsgaard, HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth). Yet, this point remains dubious: what if the harm the humans have already done will be sufficient for the global disaster to happen?
Overall, judging by the compelling account and reliable evidence provided by Hartsgaard, it is highly likely that the humanity will face a global disaster in the nearest future. The increase in global warming is a sure path to the global natural disaster through disruptive effects of the floods and droughts, through shortage of food and water supplies, and through the global war resultant from total migration and fight for food resources.
- Hartsgaard, Mike. HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Print.
- WHO. “Disasters and Emegencies”. Panafrican Emergency Training Center. 2002. Web. November 17 2013.