Friday, 29 November 2013

Global Warming is Real

Dachstein Glacier alarm! 

I find it hard to believe that there are still global warming deniers amongst us. Here in the Alps global warming is already in full swing.

The real question is: how are we as a species dealing with the problems facing us?

Other than flying celebrities to the north pole to witness the extinctions of the polar bears and other animals or flying talking shop aficionados around the planet to no effect climate conferences the answer it seems to me is not very much.

But I tell a lie. We are doing something. We are busy planning and building higher and higher ski resorts, more and more cars and roads, more out of town supermarkets, more giant cruise ships, and ever bigger airports. And it's all in the name of Growth!

Growth! of the kind the EU's politicians constantly tell us we must have is not real Growth!*.It is an illusion.

A newspaper report I recall reading a couple of years ago stated that if all countries in the world were to reach the same economic level and continue in the same way as here in Austria (and doubtless it's the same in many other EU countries too) we would require the resources of 3 earth size planets to support ourselves. In the case of Britain I believe the figure was 2.6 planets. And in the USA it was nearly 3.5 planets.

The ariel view of the highest part of Austria's famous Dachstein massif, published by the ÖAV (Österreichische Alpin Verein) in 2012, shows the extent of the glacier melt, perhaps 50% of the area of the glacier originally surveyed in 1850 has now vanished.

What the ariel view does not show is the unseen, the dramatically reduced thickness of what remains of the Dachstein's glacier. 

*example 1: 

Government gave people €2,000 vouchers if they sent their perfectly good cars to the scrap yard and bought new replacements. Growth! . 
*example 2: 
Alpine Spring Water is being exported in plastic bottles from Austria to China. I can hardly believe it but it must be true for I've seen the labels printed in many languages including Chinese. 
Water weighs 1 ton per cubic meter. Growth! It needs a lot of fuel to transport it around the world in plastic bottles.
*example 3: 
Motorways are clogged up with slow moving or standing traffic from dawn till dusk - the answer is to build more motorways and bigger trucks. Growth!
*example 4 - a fisherman catches a few fish for the market, his wife collects herbs on the hill at the back of the house to sell to the local doctor, the son carves souvenirs from driftwood found on the beach. Problem? No growth!


  1. Gwil, I know it is cowardly, but I can no longer rustle up the energy to worry about such things - I agree with every word you say and I have three grandchildren so I should worry but everything seems to be hurtling towards destruction and every single nation is selfish and after its own ends.

  2. We were talking about this the other day, here, in relation to the number of people who die of cold in poorly heated houses in this country. Yes, there's the issue of home insulation, but if the "fuel poverty" issues here were dealt with and everybody was able to keep warm enough (obviously a good thing) how big an increase would there be in energy consumption?

    And that's just one issue. I think we've only just begun to scratch the surface of the implications of global warming.

  3. Pat, I also don't worry about it because I'm only one man on the beach so I just report what I see and find for myself as I go around. The map was in a museum exhibition about an early mountaineer and naturalist who documented the Dachstein area of the Alps and has the Simony Hutte named after him.

    Dominic, Energy is big global business. That's why to waste it is encouraged as this increases shareholders dividends. In Europe there's what is known as Tankentourismus. That is people are encouraged to drive to another country to fill up their cars with petrol. Here in Austria for example petrol is 50 cents cheaper than in neighbouring Italy. If the world stopped wasting energy and produced it wisely there would be enough go around. In Great Britain, which is surrounded on all sides by a restless sea, energy can be harvested round the clock due to the regional differences in tide tables and more or less for free.

  4. I agree with you all. It is shocking how everyone goes on with their lives and do not see all the sings of global warming and pollution. It is our responsibility to make the world a better and cleaner environment.



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