Life in a hothouse

Editorial Board
Friday, Aug 05, 2022

As we confront floods while the rest of the world too battles weather-related phenomena such as wildfires, floods and droughts destroy the lives of people, a new book by Bill McGuire, emeritus professor at University College London, 'Hothouse Earth', warns us that there is now no escape now from a hotter, more hostile planet. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, global temperatures have risen by just over 1C. At the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow last year, it was agreed to try to limit that rise to 1.5C, although to achieve this, global carbon emissions will have to be reduced by 45 per cent by 2030. McGuire says we are actually on course for close to a 14 per cent rise in emissions by that date – which means we may hit 1.5C in less than a decade.

Global warming will mean warmer oceans and a change of animal life in these waters as well as faster melting of glaciers and the polar cap thereby causing widespread flooding and putting millions of people at risk. Children born in the coming years will live in a much more unbearable world, with the planet struggling to survive in the face of the changing climate. 'Climate appeasement’, as McGuire calls it, is just criminal denial.

We have effectively destroyed planet earth, the only home we have ever known. As it grows hotter, both agricultural and living patterns will need to change. We now have to prepare to cope with the changes that lie ahead; this involves not only cutting carbon emissions but also altering the way we build our homes, the way we live, and how we look at our industrialized selves. There is but one planet that is inhabitable for humans for now. We have no plan B: there is no option but to save our future.