Note from a warming planet

In Manchester today, it is mild and sunny, like late September.  Temperatures are unprecedentedly high in the UK and have been for days.

UK temperatures 13/11/2022 via Met Office

I picked runner beans (painted lady) yesterday and achoacha (a frost tender cucumber relative) today.  The beans have stopped flowering now but unless there is frost, the small beans will continue to mature.  I always lift the tubers and pot them up in sand so as to get an early start – these days, stray ones survive the winter in the open ground. The anoacha is still flowering but the leaves are beginning to go yellow.  Both these crops are usually killed by frosts in October.

I remember bonfire night as a child – always cold and often frosty but this year people weren’t wearing coats.

I know that weather isn’t climate but we’ve had month after month of record average high temperatures.

The extended growing season is a something to take advantage of but it carries an extremely ominous message.

Today I read that there are no more than 9 years to avoid a 1.5 degree global average temperature rise.  But that message hides some ugly reality.  That estimate is for no more than a 50 – 50 chance of avoiding heating of more than 1.5 deg.  We are already at something like 1.3 degrees.  The estimates don’t take full account of positive feedback loops and tipping points.

Meanwhile the UK government has a target of net (i.e. not real) zero carbon emissions by ….. 2050, yes a mere 28 years.  My grandchildren will already be middle aged by then, if they survive.  I’ll most likely be long gone along with many of the politicians and business leaders who refuse to take the drastic and radical action needed.  That action isn’t just necessary for the climate but to fend off the other escalating pancrisis events – neatly summarised in the Stockholm Environment Institute’s concept of planetary boundaries.  Those actions mean equitably deployed emergency actions – a managed degrowth programme.  There isn’t another way.


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