The Trump generation – including me – won’t be around when London and Houston sink. Along with Jakarta, Manila, Shanghai and half of the Netherlands. Nor when the last wild polar bear and Atlantic puffin has died because of habitat loss.
And the Greta generation have time to adapt to the changing climate without too much inconvenience: relocate to higher ground, stop holidaying in the Canary Isles, consume less meat, wear thick pullovers in winter and drive electric cars. In fact they will even benefit from new developments in sustainable energy sources and environment-friendly technology.
So what’s the fuss?
We cause it, and others suffer.
The first world relaxes
We in the rich west emit the greenhouse gases that prevent the sun’s heat from escaping the atmosphere through our excessive use of fossil fuels for our electricity generation, heating and mobility. We persuade the Brazilians to burn their virgin forests in the Amazon in order to cultivate soybeans to produce the beef we desire. Our financial system encourages the Indonesians to destroy the orangutan habitat and grow palm oil instead for our fodder, biofuel and margarine.
The third world groans
But it’s places like Mozambique and the Caribbean islands that are experiencing increasingly violent tropical cyclones. Why? Probably because the sea temperature is rising … because Antarctic and Greenland ice is melting … because we are polluting the atmosphere with GHG. The Maldives, consisting of 1,200 little islands, each only a few feet above sea level, may be the first nation to completely disappear under the sea. Many South Sea islands face a similar fate. Flooding in Bangladesh is becoming more frequent and more catastrophic. Where should all those millions go? Southern Africa, on the other hand, is repeatedly faced with unprecedented drought.
And such countries are least able to cope.
But even developed countries like Sweden, Canada, Russia and the US have recently suffered forest fires, exacerbated by storm winds, of a potency not known in living memory.
Kudos to Greta and the striking kids
Most strikers these days seek benefits for themselves: more pay, better working conditions, cheaper food or petrol. Even the @March4OurLives and #MeToo movements – as the names suggest – are essentially selfish. But not the climate-striking students in the West. They are not primarily concerned for their own welfare but for that of the imminently threatened billions in developing countries … who aren’t causing the problems. I’m proud of them.