Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Global Warming: even worse than we thought

That is the cheery, pre-holiday headline from the website, NewScientist.

Doesn't that just make you choke on your giblets? 
There is a veritable battery of articles to support that grim claim. Arctic ice is melting at a record rate, sea level is rising as a consequence, the world cannot keep reabsorbing CO2 at the rate at which it is being produced, there are expectations for dire heat waves in many parts of the world for as soon as next year, and "extreme weather events" are going to become regular occurrences.  An article over at CNN seems to corroborate that last point.

Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, professor of Geosciences at Princeton University, sees "superstorms" such as the recent Hurricane Sandy as a "foretaste of things to come."  He goes on to say that "bigger storms and higher sea levels will pile on to create a growing threat" in the coming decades and that New York City "is highly vulnerable."  Over at NewScientist, that very premise, the growing prevalence of superstorms, is being extrapolated to determine what that means for the future of food production.  The answer is, "nothing good." Food prices will continue to rise as a result, especially in underdeveloped areas of the world.

What I found most troubling (and that's saying something) about the series of reports at NewScientist is the research that has been done as to CO2 emissions and air pollutants.  If we stopped all CO2 flow into the atmosphere right this very minute, we could probably avoid the upcoming rise in global temperatures.  We both know, however, that such a halt cannot and will not happen.  If anything, scientists at the University of Bristol UK have determined that CO2 output levels have actually risen, despite environmental initiatives and a very sluggish economy.  The limp-wristed Kyoto Protocol does nothing, especially without the United States and Canada involved and with China continuing to be the world's foremost producer of CO2.

I'm sorry, but I just cannot understand how anyone can continue to argue that Global Warming is not happening or perhaps worse, that it is happening but human beings have no part in it.  The climate change deniers appear, to me anyway, to fall into five basic camps: 
1) People who will make more money if the environment continues to erode, 2) people too lazy to take the active steps required for change, 3) people who hear the word "regulations" and irrationally break out into hives, 4) complete idiots, and 5) some combination of all of the above.

Unless I can get in on the Singularity (and oh please please let me get what I want), I am likely to spend my twilight years in a time when the stuff really hits the fan in terms of the environment.  That won't be fun.  But I feel especially sorry for those of you who will live almost your entire lives in the aftermath.

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  1. This was all known way back in the 50's and 60's! Nothing was done then and nothing will be done now. Talk is cheap and action is expensive. We need massive amounts of energy to keep our civilization going. There are three times more human beings on this planet than can be fed and housed. Its an ugly fact. The USA uses oil based fuels with minor taxation at an enormouse rate. Try bying diesil in Britain where the tax is three times the cost of the fuel. I am nearly 70 & have but a limited time to go, but I have grandchildren that will never see old age before the system collapses. So eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we ALL die.

  2. You're absolutely right, Barry. We've known for a while but have been just too greedy to care otherwise. Right now, we're looking at a worst case scenario. Move away from coastal areas, buy sunscreen, and let's get all the penguins and polar bears into zoos that we can.


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