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Climate Change has Dyer Consequences!

Mr. Gwynne Dyer was at our school on March 14, 2018, at 2 PM. The presentation was called "The Climate Horizon" based on his book "Climate Wars". Check out some of the pictures from the event! The Crusaders and staff posed some great questions during the Q&A portion of the event! Thanks again, Mr. Dyer for making us more globally minded about our future! His book is available online.

GWYNNE DYER has worked as a freelance journalist, columnist, broadcaster and lecturer on international affairs for more than 20 years, but he was originally trained as an historian. He received degrees from Canadian, American and British universities, finishing with a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He served in three navies and held academic appointments at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Oxford University before launching his twice-weekly column on international affairs, which is published by over 175 papers in some 45 countries.


Every country in the world has pledged never to allow the rise in the average global temperature to exceed two degrees Celsius, but we are probably going to pass right through the two-degree limit. 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will give us +2C, and we are already at 400 p.p.m. Plus 2 degrees is the point of no return, because at that point we hit the “feedbacks”. These are irreversible natural processes, triggered by the warming we have already created, that will also cause global warming: an ice-free Arctic Ocean, the melting of the permafrost, and immense releases of carbon dioxide from the warming oceans.

Once the feedbacks kick in, we lose control of the process. After that, we could reduce human greenhouse gas emissions to zero and find that the warming is still heading for plus five or six degrees Celsius. That would mean mass death. The first and biggest impact of global warming, for human beings, is on the food supply. Even before +2C, the changing climate will generate huge numbers of refugees, of “failed states”, and of wars between countries that must share river systems. There will be lots of jobs for the military. But there may be a way to cheat. Scientists have proposed various geo-engineering techniques that would artificially hold the temperature below +2 degrees even if we go through 450 ppm. They are only stop-gap measures, but if they worked they might win us enough extra time to get our emissions down without triggering the feedbacks.

This is the biggest crisis human beings have ever faced, and overcoming it will require an unprecedented level of global cooperation. But there may be a way through it.


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F. G. Miller Jr./Sr. High School

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