One of the niches carved out by journalist-academic, Gwynne Dyer, is to crystal-ball gaze into the security implications of climate change. Even if Dyer’s approach is considered a touch too populist for those firmly attuned to analytical rigour nevertheless his two books on ‘Climate Wars’ provide plenty of wry reflection as events and years roll by.
Dyer’s projections, which are not so much predictions as scenarios taking the ‘known unknowns’ turbo-charged into the future by Dyer’s vivid imagination, do not all end in conflict, such as with the power struggle between the United States and Russia over natural resources in the Arctic.
Another scenario, projected for 2029 sees the US- Mexican border forcefully sealed off after refugee crises caused by runaway desertification in Mexico where farmers had been struggling financially while their country falls apart and warlords rule several northern regions. Given the historical evidence, so far so plausible, just.
Meanwhile inside the USA, goes Dyer’s scenario, a powerful group with Mexican heritage grows in opposition to the rest of the country; though possible, that part is filed under ‘speculative’.
However reality inched forward with a recent report by UCLA’s Center for Climate Change Solutions which spelt out a stark picture of how climate-change would impact in the future on Los Angelenos.
This groundbreaking new study Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region shows that climate change will cause temperatures in the Los Angeles region to rise by an average of 4-5°F by the middle of this century, tripling the number of extremely hot days in the downtown area and quadrupling the number in the valleys and at high elevations.
The number of days when the temperature will climb above 95 degrees will increase two to four times, depending on the location. Temperatures now seen only on the seven hottest days of the year in each region will occur two to six times as often. An important aspect of this study is that it shows where different areas will experience different degrees of warming, suggesting that people will move and reconfigure districts influenced by climate-change.
Given the sizeable population of Mexican descent in Los Angeles we can excuse Gwynne Dyer a wry chuckle. (Full report: http://c-change.la/pdf/LARC-web.pdf) Jasper Humphreys, The Marjan Centre