Our kids may live next to and surf wildly different coastlines than we do today. Not in a good way.
That's not exactly the conclusion of the report the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released today, but it's definitely spelled out in the very, very bad news.
Basically all the worst possible scenarios for climate warming and associated problems it brings are coming true, and we have, at most, a decade to get serious about dealing with the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. We're talking rising seas, stronger hurricanes, the total death of all coral reef systems, and massive disruptions of the oceanic food web. That's just as far as the oceans are concerned, of course.
And whereas recently, we all sorta knew these problems were coming in a distant future, this new report says otherwise.
2040 is when the shill we really be hitting the fan. We'll see these insane changes in our lifetime.
The problem is that previous worst case scenario estimates were based on 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of warming, which was more than we expected to actually see, and meaningful cuts in carbon emissions could probably keep a rise like that from happening.
But the IPCC now revealed that the same disastrous consequences will happen at a mere 2.7 degrees of warming, and we're careening toward that at an unstoppable pace.
Well, not unstoppable. All it will take is a complete restructuring of the economies of the industrialized and industrializing world to halt the warming, while also figuring out the as-of-yet non-existent technology needed to scrub carbon from the atmosphere.
Why talk about this on a surf website, we hear you asking?
Well, because it will affect every single part of your surf life. The oceans will rise. Your favorite break will likely completely change. If you live in the tropics and enjoy surfing over live reefs, that's gone. You likely live near the coast, and, depending on where that is, you may not be able to live there anymore. Hurricane Michael is about to unleash hell on the Florida coast, and that will happen more and more frequently.
This ain't a political thing. This is real, this is happening.
Maybe thinking about how something like this affects our surf life will prompt change. Lord knows, seemingly nothing else has. As individuals it feels like we can’t do a whole lot. But, cliche as it is, our actions all add up. Maybe don’t make that extra drive to check the sandbar that never really works anyway. Buy fewer surfboards and wetsuits that require petroleum products to make. Buy equipment made with sustainability in mind. Ride a bike to the beach. Hell, whatever it takes. Every little bit helps.