If you love excitement, you're going to love these last years of your life. Civil war, food riots, monster storms and a lot more apocalyptic religious extremism will spice up even the dullest and most comfortable existence, according to a new United Nations report on the now-constant insanity we boringly call "climate change." But even the weather seems to be capitalist, because the demons of global warming most enjoy hurting the poor.
A couple of recent reports—by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Bank—were completed before the current devastation in the Philippines, but either could serve as the somber narration for video of Haiyan's aftermath.
"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia," the report says. "The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased." But what happens next?
The heat and drought will cause food supplies to drop about 2 percent every 10 years, at a time when the population continues to grow at an annual rate of 1.1 percent worldwide and in excess of 2 percent in much of Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. When there's not enough food, we get genocide and war, as Rwanda saw in the 1990s. The ongoing horror in Syria and Egypt began with a doubling of bread prices following worldwide drought and flooding that wiped out much of the wheat harvest from Russia to Australia.
With most of the world's population crowded around the coasts and the world's most impoverished people near the equator, the rising seas are doing a slow-motion version of what Haiyan just did to the Philippines: drowning the poor.
But the "First World" will still get hit, even if the death tolls are lower. Punishing heat waves will continue to kill the urban poor for not being born rich, while tropical storms and intense blizzards become regular visitors to northern cities like New York.
As long as you're the hero of your particular disaster movie rather than one of the billions of expendable extras, things should work out just fine. Good luck!
[Photo via Getty Images.]