I am writing this post in a somewhat balmy, 80-plus degrees in my house (at 10:30pm). In Seattle air conditioning in homes is nearly as unheard of as the robin is in the Inuit’s land. Of course, now that the robin is in the arctic the Inuit have to come up with a word for it. Why has the last ten days been the hottest streak of temperatures in Seattle history? Why is the robin suddenly so far north? Why was last night the first night in recorded history that it stayed above 70 degrees in Seattle?
Simply put the Earth is warming. Rather, the climate is changing. In some places it is cooling, but most of us are experiencing the beginnings of climate destabilization. Why? Because we have insisted on releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, altering the interaction of our planet and the sun’s energy.
Misguided, Mislead, Misunderstood
It’s unfortunate the there are those who ignore the signs of global climate change, take the word of people claiming to be scientists disagreeing, or simply buy into the anti-climate-change arguments given by political pundits. Most, if not all, of these sources are funded by the very people who make money from polluting the earth (i.e. oil and coal – namely, Exxon).
Even more unfortunate is the fact that we are forced to entertain the nonsense presented by the anti-climate-change forces of evil. Meanwhile, dignified scientists – the real ones, with peer-reviewed papers and enough PhD’s to fill the Grand Canyon – unanimously agree on two things:
- Global Climate Change is happening now and escalating quickly, and
- Human beings have caused the acceleration and likely started it as well.
While many of us are aware of the threat and believe that we’re causing it, there are still many that believe it’s all poppy-cock. We’re so focused on the big economy that we’re worried making changes for a healthier planet (and thereby healthier population) might hurt the GDP. Being aware of the bottom line is important, no denying it. However, we should be aware of our other bottom line: life. What are the risks involved with doing nothing? So what if we’re wrong about climate change? Let’s just ignore the argument for a second…
Stop the Debate, Listen to Reason Instead
Greg Craven has some great videos on the subject of risk. He says ignore the debate, think about the risks: action versus inaction and how they relate to each side of the argument. On one end you have that the climate scientists are wrong and we take action – causing economic depression (aren’t we in one anyway?). On the other end is the outcome where climate change is real and we do nothing – complete and udder destruction to our way of life, the planet’s ability to support life, and loads of death and chaos.
Seems to me that basic risk-benefit analysis says, regardless of who’s right or wrong, we don’t have time to bet the whole of life on Earth on the off chance of some economic harm. Greg just recently finished a book on the subject, I would suggest picking it up and watching “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See” and the updated version “How it All Ends”.
What’s the harm in a little more Heat?
While the estimated 2 degrees in temperature change that is estimated to occur in the next 50-100 years may not seem like much, that 2 degrees is a change in the mean temperature as well as the variance. For those that don’t have a masters degree in statistics: the extreme temperatures (highs and lows) are going to happen more frequently and the highs are going to get higher.
Instead of 100 degree days happening once every other year, they will happen every summer for longer periods of time. This is 2 degree temperature change is likely to happen with strong moves to curtail emissions. It will be much larger (6 to 8 degrees) if we continue to growth and emit as usual.
As I end my diatribe sweating through one of the hottest Seattle days ever, I curse every car that drives by my house. I curse those who ignore the signs, failing to take action (at least the Inuit are suing). I curse our politicians for cutting the environment out in favor of growth. I curse the minuscule steps we plan to take (far too little, far too late). I curse every moron that left my generation and my son’s generation with a planet full of CO2 and devoid of human values. If we keep it up at least we will rid ourselves of the one true blight on Earth: us.