25 November 2015   Leave a comment

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued a report today on its most current assessment of climate change and its report is grim.    Among its findings are these:

  • 2011-2015 “have been the warmest five-year period on record, with many extreme weather events – especially heatwaves – influenced by climate change.”
  • 2015 is set to be the hottest year on record by far, with the highest ocean surface temperatures ever monitored.
  • It’s “probable” that total global warming since the industrial revolution will cross the 1°C (1.8°F).
  • The 3-month average of Northern Hemisphere CO2 levels “crossed the 400 parts per million barrier for the first time.”

The crossing of the 1º C threshold is significant since it indicates that the planet is halfway to the 2º C point at which many climatologists regard as a point of catastrophic change.   This year’s temperature extremes are off the charts from previous years.

horserace-201510 NOAA

The downing of the Russian bomber by Turkey signals a deepening rift between the two countries.  Before the Syrian civil war, Turkey and Russia had been moving closer.   Turkey is the second largest market for Russian natural gas and Russia supplies about 10% of Turkey’s tourist trade.   But Turkey opposes Syrian President Assad and Russia supports him.  The shootdown represents a real turning point: it was the first time in 63 years that a NATO country has downed a Russian plane.   The fledgling alliance between the US and Russia, quite deliberately fostered by France, will be difficult to sustain now.  But French President Hollande is going to Russia tomorrow to try to seal a deal.

It is not hard to think that the international system is currently quite fragile–indeed, parts of it seem to be deteriorating rapidly.  In many respects, the fragility of the system reflects a loss of confidence in the liberal system to solve problems and to inspire confidence among disparate populations.  There really is no alternative to liberalism right now, but the decay of the system is not necessarily due to competition from other systems.  It is. rather, a failure to keep pace with the rate of change in the world.

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Posted November 25, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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