I know, I’m writing fiction but getting the facts right is as important as making sure the hero doesn’t die half way through the story. The book I’m writing, Absorbed, is set at a time that global warming is starting to really impact on people’s everyday lives so I need to have a reasonable idea about what’s going to happen and how. And, the great thing about being the Children’s Writer in Residence at the University of Otago is I’m at the University of Otago. This morning I went to see Bob Lloyd who is an associate professor in the physics department. I’d heard him talk about peak oil at a seminar last year so I knew he was the person to see and yes, he opened my eyes. For an hour we talked about who produces oil and that, even though more oil wells are opening up around the world all the time, we are steadily producing less. The major gushers the world had have all been drained. He said global modelling of climate change was very difficult and no one could be sure what the next hundred years was going to be like as it depended on things such as whether the gulf stream would stop and how much increased wind would affect temperatures. The world might actually get colder for a bit. Whatever happens, it will be interesting times and money and politics, as people try to cope with a changing environment, will have a big part to play in it all. I think Bob summed up his feelings when we talked about whether it was the end of civilisation and maybe humans as a species “We’ve made some remarkable discoveries in science,” he said. “It would be sad to lose them.”
He also recommended a book to read – James Hansen Storms of My Grandchildren. Hansen is an American climate scientist and says Earth is hurtling rapidly to a climatic point of no return. It looks an interesting read and what I need to get my facts right in Absorbed. Thanks Bob.