Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Warming Wednesdays: scientists have moved on beyond all doubt

There was something much more important in this week's news than the Republican wrecking crew shutting down much of the U.S. government, dramatic as that assault on democracy seems. It's a terrible commentary on the failure of our current political, social and economic system that the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report barely caused a ripple of notice.

Advancing climate devastation is the existential issue of our time. Only massive of use of nuclear weapons comes even close as a threat to human and other planetary life. For the moment, the latter danger seems to have receded. But our rulers continue to fixate on "terrorism" -- a small scale if dramatic calamity -- and the antics of the Grumpy Old (white) People's party.

I'll outsource explication of the latest IPPC report to Dr. Jeff Masters at the weather site, Wunderground. He's striving for an analogy to help us appreciate the danger and found a timely one.

I was struck by how the IPCC report reads like lab results from a sick hospital patient. The natural systems that civilization depends upon to thrive have been profoundly disturbed, and the forecast for the future reads like a medical diagnosis for an overweight smoker with a heart condition: unless the patient makes major lifestyle changes, the illness will grow far worse, with severe debilitation or death distinct possibilities.

We can and we must make the huge effort to turn things around. Oil and natural gas are the energy technologies of the 20th century. Coal is the energy technology of the 19th century. We have countless innovative and dedicated people ready to move us to the energy technology of the 21st century; I heard three of them speak last night at the Climate Week event I am at, and they really gave me some needed hope that we can turn things around. We must elect new leaders and pressure our existing leaders to take the strong actions needed to advance us into a new, 21st century energy economy. You can all help make it so!

Master is terrific at describing just what the scientific data mean about how weather will be changed as carbon pollution climbs. Read it all.

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