Extreme global temperatures are pushing the human body “close to thermal limits”, according to Loughborough University climate scientist Dr Tom Matthews.
Record-breaking heat has swept through Europe this week with temperatures topping 40C in a number of countries. However, in places such as South Asia and the Persian Gulf, people are already enduring temperatures reaching up to 54C. These areas could soon be uninhabitable. Some areas – which are among the most densely populated on Earth – could pass this threshold by the end of the century, according to Dr Matthews.
When air temperature exceeds 35C, the body relies on sweating to keep core temperatures at a safe level. However, when the “wet bulb” temperature – which reflects the ability of moisture to evaporate – reaches 35C, this system no longer works.
“The wet bulb temperature includes the cooling effect of water evaporating from the thermometer, and so is normally much lower than the normal (“dry bulb”) temperature reported in weather forecasts,” Dr Matthews wrote. “Once this wet bulb temperature threshold is crossed, the air is so full of water vapour that sweat no longer evaporates,” he said. This means the human body cannot cool itself enough to survive more than a few hours. “Without the means to dissipate heat, our core temperature rises, irrespective of how much water we drink, how much shade we seek, or how much rest we take,” he explained.
There is already evidence wet bulb temperatures are occurring in Southwest Asia. Heat-stressed countries are likely to see the largest absolute increases in humid-heat and they are often the least well-prepared to deal with the hazard. This could drive mass migration, which would make heat a worldwide issue – even for countries that are not experiencing scorching temperatures.
Capitalism is driving the planet toward extinction for the simple reason that profit-seeking will allow nothing less than the subordination of humanity and nature to a business balance sheet. The task of the Socialist Party is to woo environment activists into our revolutionary movement and winning such people to our vision of a steady-state economy. Far too many of those involved in ecology campaigns continue to funnel workers into dead-end reformism. Rarely do you find socialism mentioned in their preaching of solutions. Their “radical change” is nothing of the sort. They edit out unpalatable truths from their analysis. They endeavour to conjure a populist rebellion by claiming one exists when in reality is that there is nothing to frighten the ruling class. The proposed reforms are all quite amenable to capitalism. The environmentalist strategy rests upon the banality of palliative policies achieved through regulation and legislation applying various reforms to the climate change emergency which simply is not in the capitalism's DNA to accomplish. Mass wealth in few hands controls the State. The ruling elite control world affairs in order to maximize its privilege, profit and power, at any cost to the planet and its population. The bulk of humanity has been dispossessed and disempowered. And this is why now, civilisation stands at the brink of collapse. We face the threats ecological apocalypse and climate catastrophe. The reality of that fear induces most people to live in insane, irrational delusion.
Radical transformation is what those in the climate justice movement deny. They have limited their vision is a revision of capitalism, not its elimination. Their dream is amelioration not the annihilation of the cause of global warming. They hold a naïve faith in reformism. They seek to apply a few bandaids to an ailing system, via the Green New Deal or some other “remedy.” None of these fixes even address the core problem itself – capitalism. They hope to address the symptoms but not cure the sickness. Why? Profits. They work for change within the system of capital accumulation. If corporations are made to pay for their own externalized production costs, business models teeter in the wind. Where does that leave them? Consumer boycotts, divestment, and sanctions of capitalist enterprises. Or various harebrained schemes of geo-engineering. Their solution is for the CEOs to either become nice people, or to be disciplined for their naughty misbehavior. Creating fraudulent champions to combat climate change leads to misery and despair while pushing the replacement of the capitalist system into the distant future.
The oligarchs and plutocrats are deeply entrenched, uprooting biosystems, destroying the environment, wasting resources.
Here’s hoping that the climate emergency sparks a social revolution that keeps humanity thriving.
Will you fight for survival? Will you struggle for socialism? Or simply continue to shout at the TV?
Another "pending" catastrophe for my Extinction File.
Apparently Humanity is the new lemming -- but taking the bounteous life of our planet with us.
Thanks for telling it like it is.
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