Wessels describes how we haveexceeded carrying capacity and eventually natural order will restore itself.One negative feedback solution the author discusses is global warming and themelting of the ice caps. In the event of global sea waters warming, greaterinfluxes in fresh water which decreases water density at the surface of thenorth Atlantic could occur leading to the great gull stream stalling whichwould push the world’s climate into glacial conditions. This would lead to aworldwide decrease in growing seasons and precipitation and dramatic reductionsin global food supply would result.
In 2004, a report (leaked) was commissionedby the pentagon to investigate the outcome of a worst-case scenario of globalwarming in which nothing was done to curb carbon dioxide emissions. Thefindings and conclusions were shocking. They concluded that “famines woulddecimate populations in the subtropics and densely populated countries likeChina and India.
The global economy would most likely unravel. The threat ofnuclear conflict would be grave.” Such a report from the pentagon sends apowerful message that global warming cannot be ignored as to do so would bedetrimental to humanities existence and to the future of the planet. If we donothing to curb the increasing entropy in the currently degrading biosphere,then the findings of this report could very well be accurate in predicting thefuture of the planet.
With current attempts at reducing carbon emissions,through the Paris Agreement of 22 April 2016, based only upon the premise ofvoluntary emission reductions by participating countries, it is likely thatchange will be slow. In this book, Wessels was very much optimistic about theglobal anticipation in sustainability, however a lot has changed. Since then,the US, who’s reduction pledge was to account for a fifth of the globalemissions to be avoided by 2030, recently announcing that it will not be takingpart in the agreement and with Nicaragua refusing to sign because it believesthe agreement is too weak to address the enormity of the consequences ofclimate change, particularly in vulnerable developing countries, the attemptsseem not binding or forward-thinking enough. It is clear that many countrieswill not push forward on path the towards a more sustainable future unlessthere is some economic gain or pressure from voters at home. “We have the meansto dramatically increase energy efficiency and cut unneeded energy utilization.We only need the collective willpower to do so” -Wessels.
It may take somelonger to realise that the race for sustainable prosperity is on, but withrecent backlash at the trump administrations exit of the Paris Agreement, withpublic figures such as Obama making a statement saying the new administrationhad joined “a small handful of nations that reject the future” and Al Gorecalling the move “reckless and indefensible”, this shows a general publicopinion that looks to sustainability as the future. I am optimistic that thispublic opinion shift will eventually trickle to governmental action but thequestion is will it be soon enough?