Yup, Point the Finger at Us
In a recent post, I again touched on the theme of reaching a tipping point in consciousness regarding Global Warming. In that post, I mentioned early speculation about the up coming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Well, the other day, evidently after a lot of last minute back and forth on language and tone, the Panel went public with their front page findings.
This leading group of climate scientists concluded for the first time that global warming is â€œunequivocalâ€ and went further to say that human activity, what we do every day, is â€˜very likelyâ€™ the main factor in the rise of global temperatures since 1950. [This should further confirm that Michael Crichton, is a novelist and a writer of fiction. I have heard one too many people source â€œState of Fearâ€, his novel about global warming as substantiation that global warming is a myth. Please stop now.] This was the panelâ€™s fourth report since 1990 but was the first time stated with great certainty that the carbon dioxide and other emissions from human activities have been the main cause of warming during the past 50 years.
For all intents and purposes, the argument around the issue of human contribution to global warming is now over. Even the Texas oil man sitting in the White House embraced the findings of the panel. Does any one want to be behind Bush on the global warming curve? We are the primary cause. What we all do every day, more or less, is what is causing global warming. So letâ€™s finally move on from this â€˜debateâ€™ to where we should be, which is to completely focus on changing our ways â€” personally, locally, nationally, globally.
In addition to the emphatic conclusion that there was global warming and that we are at cause, what really struck me about this report is the range of possibilities that the panel put forth regarding future scenarios. The projected range of temperature increase for the remainder of this century was 3.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reaches twice what it was in 1750, at the beginning of the industrial revolution. That is a wide range, with an equally wide range of consequences. This warming has already set in motion a rise in sea levels globally. The panel forecasts a rise of 7 to 23 inches by 2100. That is, at the upper end, a staggering amount when compared to the rise of 6to 9 inches during the 20th century. Think about all the shoreline erosion that has occurred in the past few decades. Combine that with unbridled real estate development along every coast line in the world and we have a clear path toward destruction, economic calamity and death.
The upper ranges of all these scenarios result from models where emissions continue to grow unchecked. The lower range assume some success by us to lower or reverse the rate of growth of all this garbage we throw into the atmosphere every second. Even if we succeed in dramatically reducing our toxic atmospheric waste, we have already helped to trigger a new norm of continual climate change for the remainder of this century. This comes after thousands of years of relatively stable climate conditions. The panel states that if greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in our atmosphere at even a moderate rate, average temperatures by the end of the century could match those last seen 125,000 years ago during the last warm period between ice ages. The panel estimates that at that time sea levels were 12 to 20 feet higher than they are now. That water is now in the ice caps that are melting with increasing speed. Now that is a scary scenario.
As Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations Environmental Program, which oversees the panel said â€œIn our daily lives we all respond urgently to dangers that are much less likely than climate change to affect the future of our childrenâ€
All of this reminds me of an old Richard Pryor comedy routine. Pryor talks about trying to quick smoking cocaine with his friend Jim Brown, the great football running back.. Pryor talks about stopping in the future, maybe not, cutting down, maybe not. To every statement Jim Brown says â€œSo whatchaâ€™ gonnaâ€™ do?â€ Remember, Pryor set himself on fire freebasing cocaine [ nice metaphor for global warming]. Now that this report puts us at cause for global warming, you have to ask yourself, you have to ask those wanting to lead us, you have to ask those that want to sell to us: â€˜Whatcha gonna do?â€
Whatcha gonna do about global warming?