Squabbling governments and evil rulers with mindless minions isn't just the plot of a TV show but a real-world crisis putting our planet in peril, writes Stephen Fitzgerald.
FLASHBACK — if you are going to watch Game of Thrones, watch it from the beginning. Manage to maintain your concentration span and you should really enjoy it. It’s full of rock-eating trolls and there's a parallel that perhaps you can relate to.
Game of Thrones (GoT) is an American fantasy drama and, in its simplest form, can be explained as seven noble families fighting for control of the mythical land of Westeros. There is also a power struggle between East and West (funny that). In their deadly battles for money, power and control, they remain oblivious to a secondary distant threat, from the frozen north land that has the potential to destroy their world.
Back to reality. Global superpowers are engaged in wars for control of our rapidly depleting reserves of oil and natural gas. The oil wars raged yesterday in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Nations were destroyed and millions were killed or displaced. Today, these same oil wars are raging in Yemen, Syria, Israel, Venezuela and Libya. Once again, for control of oil and natural gas with a total disregard for the consequences.
Just like in Westeros, in the real world now, there is an impending threat capable of destroying the natural world and civilisation as we know it. If we burn all the oil and natural gas that the superpowers are fighting over, the scientific evidence suggests we could reach a tipping point for global warming and enter an era of catastrophic sea level rise from ice melt and the thawing of our own frozen lands.
In GoT, the threat to the entire kingdom is from the Night King and the ice walkers' growing “army of the dead” flooding down from the frozen north, unstopped by the building of walls. In the real world, the threat to humanity is global ice melt from the warming of our own frozen lands with impending sea level rise and “the army of the brain dead”.
People with myopia, loss aversion and confirmation bias, or people who have been brainwashed by the fossil fuel lobby, simply don’t get the looming threat of catastrophic climate change so let me explain. Greenhouse gases, from burning fossil fuel, are like a blanket. The more we add, the thicker the blanket and the hotter the Earth becomes. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, CO2 was 278 parts per million. By February 2021, it has reached a new record high of 419 ppm with the entire world 1.1°C warmer and Australia 1.44°C hotter and rising.
Across the entire planet, it's a massive amount of additional heat. Heat equates to energy and the more energy in the atmosphere, the more extreme our weather events. The geologic record tells us that sea level fluctuation is more than 130 metres depending on the volume of the global ice reservoir and that relates directly to air and sea temperature. From ice core samples, the last time CO2 levels were this high was in the late Pliocene era when sea levels were 20 metres higher than today and global temperature was 3°C hotter. That's our future if we don't stop burning fossil fuel and even a child understands the science.
There is potential on planet Earth for a 50-metre sea level rise if we melt most of the ice. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is 49 metres above sea level. At high tide, you will be able to paddle your canoe across the bridge and catch a ferry to the front steps of the NSW Art Gallery for the next Picasso exhibition provided there is no category seven cyclone raging off the coast pumping 80-foot waves all the way to Parramatta.
We can keep fighting like a bunch of morons, or we can see what’s on the horizon and do what they did in Westeros and now America. Purge the assholes at the ballot box and install a government prepared to stand up and fight for humanity and save the natural world.
Stephen Fitzgerald is a humanitarian and social activist fighting for freedom, democracy and a fair go for everyone.
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