Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

22 09 2012

From Rolling Stone

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is

[snip] . . . . So far, we’ve raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.) Given those impacts, in fact, many scientists have come to think that two degrees is far too lenient a target. “Any number much above one degree involves a gamble,” writes Kerry Emanuel of MIT, a leading authority on hurricanes, “and the odds become less and less favorable as the temperature goes up.” Thomas Lovejoy, once the World Bank’s chief biodiversity adviser, puts it like this: “If we’re seeing what we’re seeing today at 0.8 degrees Celsius, two degrees is simply too much.” NASA scientist James Hansen, the planet’s most prominent climatologist, is even blunter: “The target that has been talked about in international negotiations for two degrees of warming is actually a prescription for long-term disaster.” At the Copenhagen summit, a spokesman for small island nations warned that many would not survive a two-degree rise: “Some countries will flat-out disappear.” . . . .

Jason Mark writes :
The mainstream media is reluctant to cover an issue that questions the very foundation of our economy

Have you seen the numbers on Bill McKibben’s numbers? If you follow environment-related news (and even if you don’t), there’s a good chance you’ve read Bill McKibben’s recent Rolling Stone article, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. I know this because of the numbers displayed right below the article’s headline: 112k Facebook likes, more than 12,000 mentions on Twitter, 7,300 Stumble Upon tags and nearly 5,000 reader comments. “Wickedly viral,” is how the New England-dwelling McKibben has described the response to the piece. . . .

.  . . McKibben goes on to report that “among scientists speaking off the record, disgusted candor is the rule.” He is also unforgiving to the environmental movement to which he belongs, and notes, rightly, that all the efforts to stem greenhouse gas emissions have added up to a “record of failure.” This is a long read with a short point: we’re in deep shit.

So, why, given all of this gloom-and-doom, did the article become such a success? Because it was honest about the danger we are in. At some level, most people understand that climate change is a serious threat we need to address. The extreme weather of the past year has only made the danger more obvious than ever. And yet the danger is all-but-ignored by our political leadership. McKibben makes this point himself at the very beginning of the article when he writes: “We’re losing the fight, badly and quickly—losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.” . . . .

Thanks to LEAN for article tip – F.C.





2 responses

22 09 2012

I am in the dark about climate, but if it is so bad will the temperature in homes effect it? If the house temperature effects it then does radiation spilled around the world increase the temperature with atoms splitting by the trillions?

22 09 2012

Basically the deal is recent centuries use of coal & oil (just since industrialization) has spewed a big amount of carbon into the sky and that causes some amount of measurable warming.
It all gets compounded by melting ice regions (that are snowy white and reflect sun rays away). When they melt and that area of the seas turns dark green it absorbs that much more UV rays from the sun.
Not so much home temp. but more what your local ele. co. uses for fuel. Coal, gas, bio-mass (timber) etc. etc.
Countries with smaller ele. use (none in homes often) and teeny cars and mopeds contribute less carbon etc.
Always good to think of conservation. Everyone did during Opec years (Carter admin.).

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