Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Running Out The Clock": Climate Change And Severe Costs To Humanity ... by gimleteye

Along with colleagues who have taken global warming seriously for many years, there is a wincing trepidation about shouting too loudly on the matters at hand. At first, climate change scientists worried about a public discussion that was too loud, too aimed at being sucked down the black hole of climate change deniers whose fall-back positions are grounded in myth and anti-science bias. Those days are over. The evidence is piling up so fast, now, it is impossible to be quiet or sit on one's hands. Still the scientists are not waving or shouting.

Watch, "Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters". If you thought Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck were the time bombs of global warming, check out the contribution of methane, released from its trapped stores in and beneath the arctic ice due to climate change. Methane, in time, will turn right wing radicals like Limbaugh, the Fox News/ Roger Ailes commentariat and Beck into embarrassing comma-marks.

In 2007 Al Gore brought his climate change presentation, "An Inconvenient Truth", to the University of Miami. The presentation of science related to emissions of carbon dioxide didn't include, the "what if", when methane gas trapped in arctic ice is released into the atmosphere. But the science was there. In email exchanges with climate scientist and permafrost expert at the University of Alaska, Vladamir Romanovsky, it was clear that news from the arctic was already over-taking the information Mr. Gore was offering. Here's the link to an interview with Dr. Romanovsky, from 2009.

If you only have a few minutes to watch the youtube video, start at minute 14:30.

Afterwards, take a look at this video clip I brought back from Burma only last week. It shows, severely low water levels in the southern tributary of Lake Inle.

This economic lifeline serves tens of thousands of rural Asian poor. There is no electricity, no refigeration. People depend on produce brought upriver by boat, for food. The moment captured by iPhone shows one example of a phenomenon repeated across Southeast Asia today, suffering under climate change-caused drought conditions.

Only yesterday, the New York Times continued its ongoing reportage of widespread drought across the United States, "Thin Snowpack in West Signals Summer of Drought." "After enduring last summer’s destructive drought, farmers, ranchers and officials across the parched Western states had hoped that plentiful winter snows would replenish the ground and refill their rivers, breaking the grip of one of the worst dry spells in American history. No such luck." You are a fool if you think this is a transient, passing phase.

The question to answer, then, is what to do?

A major share of responsibility belongs with executives and top shareholders of the nation's utilities -- corporations like Florida Power and Light -- that not only refuse to reform their business models, they are hell-bent on building more polluting, generation capacity. Instead of in massively changing their production and consumption models to profit by reduction of electricity consumption at the end user level, they are also pursuing "sustainable" energy models like wind power that are massive distractions from the critical tasks of infrastructure and grid reform.

It is beyond alarming. It puts FPL executives right in the column of the ledger topped by Beck, Limbaugh, the Koch Brothers, and other right wing ideologues.

Looking back on the last decades, in which corporate America has largely throttled the climate change debate -- with proxies like US Senator Marco Rubio who refuses to meet with scientists and maintains that "doubt" exists about climate change --, it is clear that the game plan is to "run out the clock". When the clock runs out, food and water shortages will be permanent features of life and threats to civil order will be the norm. In current corporate behaviors, there is tacit admission that segregating the "haves" from "have-nots" will occur. Climate change and global warming are not about building sea walls, but that's what it will seem until the complete impacts of drought and food shortages are clear.


Malagodi said...

Spot on, once again.

There's this:

and this, which is funny if it weren't so sad.

100panthers said...

We should build a 'Wall of Shame', a tile mosaic made of concrete, with the names of the clowns like Rubio who helped turn 'The Magic City' into 'The Ephemeral City'. Snorkelers can then dive the spot towards the end of the century and read the names.

Stanley said...

The nation is suffering from unprecedented snow and freezing temperatures and you are still on the global warming kick? Good grief!

The fact is, we have not had a worldwide increase in temperature in over 16 years. Do a little research.

Anonymous said...

Stanley -- watch the video please!! and see if you can find valid and empirically tested arguments against it. I can hear Nero fiddling --- it may be too late but we can at least try. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Stanley, the snow events are a part of changing climate. The real sticking point here is how much we are responsible for verses how much would have happened anyway. Surely this is something we should be studying, regardless, as it will affect us all.