Much of the book we use at my current level at the Alliance Française is about expressing opinions, supporting (or opposing) issues, etc. One of the topics was environmentalism, and one of the exercises consisted of discussing with course mates one’s own attitude to environmental questions. One of the questions read:
In your opinion, is there currently a more important struggle than the one for environmental protection? If so, which one?
I claimed that there wasn’t one, yet several of my course mates felt that the struggle against hunger or war in Africa was more pressing. In my opinion, since AGCC will lead to loss of arable land, less access to water, loss of coastal land, etc. issues of hunger and war will only be exacerbated (and the Pentagon, of all places agrees).
So does the IPCC:
Weather trends can force agricultural shifts, like trading crops for livestock in areas where rainfall is decreasing. Some may try to pick up employment on the side or even give up on farming entirely. And weather extremes, of course, have major agricultural impacts. A poor harvest can raise food prices at the same time that it puts agricultural laborers out of work. The more unpredictable next year’s yields are, the less risk a poor farmer can afford to take. That can mean sticking with meager but dependable options rather than taking a chance on something that could significantly boost income.
Heat waves can also limit the productivity of laborers (aside from the health consequences). Reductions in income, for this or other reasons, can mean pulling children out of school, foregoing medical care, or inadequate nutrition—all of which can bring even more problems in the future.
Floods from extreme rainfall events frequently have a bigger impact on the urban poor in some regions, who are unlikely to have insurance but often live in the most vulnerable part of a city. That’s true for areas susceptible to landslides triggered by heavy rains as well, the report says.
Sea level rise, while considerably less sudden than a flash flood, also threatens many poor, low-lying coastal areas and islands. More than 175 million people live on the Ganges-Brahmaputra and Mekong River deltas, for example, where large amounts of food are grown. Rising sea level means worse flooding, invading saltwater, and a loss of land, displacing many and eliminating their livelihoods.
For those who depend on fish and other seafood, climate change and ocean acidification add additional threats to marine and freshwater resources. Climatic changes affecting Africa’s great Lake Tanganyika, for example, have contributed to declining catches.
So if you want to improve the planet, and address the needs of those who currently don’t live in industrialized countries, there’s basically nothing more important than going hard for a zero-carbon-emission society.
The reason I wrote (almost) is that of course the reason for all the political push back, and the extremely polluting production processes can be found in unregulated free markets (which, even though they visibly don’t work are at the same time touted as solutions), and therefore the capitalist system of production.
Incidentally, reducing oil extraction is also good for all other economic, social, and democratic aspects, as Edgardo Lander lays out: