2010 is the Hottest Year Ever, With Climate Catastrophes Beginning

The evidence that humans are changing the world’s climate in devastating ways continues to mount, even as the skeptics try to bury that evidence with wild rhetoric and inflammatory politics. One just needs to read newspaper headlines to realize that the world is sliding towards climate catastrophe. And, like Nero who fiddled while Rome burned around him, our leaders are equally negligent and nonchalant, and history will judge them far more harshly than it does that incompetent emperor.  Here are just a few samples of the news recently:

From The Huffington Post,an article on the alarming year of warming that the world has experienced, This is the Hottest Year Ever, and The Climate Catastrophe has begun:

Thank god man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax. Just imagine what the world might have looked like now if those conspiring scientists had been telling the truth. No doubt NASA would be telling us that this year is now, so far, the hottest since humans began keeping records. The weather satellites would show that even when heat from the sun significantly dipped earlier this year, the world still got hotter. Russia’s vast forests would be burning to the ground in the fiercest drought they have ever seen, turning the air black in Moscow, killing 15,000 people, and forcing foreign embassies to evacuate. Because warm air holds more water vapor, the world’s storms would be hugely increasing in intensity and violence — drowning one fifth of Pakistan, and causing giant mudslides in China.

The world’s ice sheets would be sloughing off massive melting chunks four times the size of Manhattan. The cost of bread would be soaring across the world as heat shriveled the wheat crops. The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be fizzing into the oceans, making them more acidic and so killing 40 percent of the phytoplankton that make up the irreplaceable base of the oceanic food chain. The denialists would be conceding at last that everything the climate scientists said would happen — with their pesky graphs and studies and computers — came to pass.

This is all happening today, except for that final step.  (Click here to read the full article).

From August 7, an article from Science Daily, “Greenland Calves Iceberg the Four Times The Size of Manhattan” and this one from August 15, “Antarctic Ice Thinning at an Alarming Rate“.

And from yesterday’s Globe and Mail, “On the bright side, the PM did say ‘climate change‘ ” is worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:

But a Canadian prime minister just can’t spend a week in the Far North and not say “climate change” at least once, painful as it must have been for Mr. Harper, because the principal reason for all this attention to that vast area is, well, climate change.

The ice there is melting and cracking under the assault of a warmer climate. During Mr. Harper’s visit, a huge chunk of ice, estimated to be the size of Bermuda, fell off the country’s largest remaining ice sheet, on Ellesmere Island.

Study after study has confirmed that the Arctic is warming even faster than had been predicted 10, five or even a few years ago. In other words, of all the places on the planet where the effects of human-induced warming are evident, the Canadian Arctic is among the most prominent.

What’s a gal (or a guy) who believes that it’s time to trust the scientists, and not the tea partiers, supposed to do? I don’t have any brilliant answers, but I know that for my children’s sake I’m going to “keep on keeping on”. I want to be able to look them in the eye 20 years from now and say that I did the best that I could to protect them from the climate crisis. Because the alternative, doing nothing, isn’t tolerable. As William Kamkwamba, the “boy who harnessed the wind” reminds us, “Trust yourself, and believe. Whatever happens, don’t ever give up.”

More links:

Message From Africa: Whatever Happens, Don’t Ever Give Up

Kick The Fossil Fuel Habit.org

More “It’s Snowing So Global Warming Must Be a Hoax” Headlines

Last month when the U.S. and Europe were brought to a standstill by brutal winter weather, there was a proliferation of posts on the blogosphere of contrarians shouting “It’s cold! It’s cold!  Whatever happened to global warming??”.  The eastern U.S. has just been slammed with snow again, and it seems these same people are at it again,too.  As I wrote then:

Some of these denialists really don’t get it!  Well, some of them do know better and just want to obscure the issue (check out the DeSmogBlog for more info on this); but a lot of them just haven’t done the research that is required to become better informed on this issue.  This is what scares me about their nonsense – these “it’s unusually cold therefore climate change isn’t happening” people are simply trying to out-shout the scientists who have studied this topic in depth.  It’s the Fox “News” approach to the most important issue humanity has ever faced – don’t do your homework, just shout louder than your opponent.

What is important to remember is that as more and more climate change-inducing emissions accumulate in our atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) and form a warming “blanket” on the earth, our climate will become more and more unstable and unpredictable. The result will be more and more instances of extreme winter weather like parts of the world are now experiencing.  There will also be more droughts, hurricanes, etc.  That is one of the reasons that Former World Bank chief economist Lord Stern, recently revised his initial estimate that failure to act urgently on climate change would cost between 5 to 20 percent of global GDP, up to 50 percent or higher (a third of the world’s wealth).

Meanwhile, in the Arctic, The National Snow and Ice Data Center recently reported that “Arctic sea ice extent at end of December 2009 remained below normal, primarily in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic. Average air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean were much higher than normal for the month, reflecting unusual atmospheric conditions”.

Click here to read the full post from January 7th,  “Cold Snap “Proof” that Climate Change Not Happening?”.

  • But in the “good news” column, amidst the snow storm, the Obama adminstration has announced that it will be forming a new agency to monitor climate change. The announcement was made jointly by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Jane Lubchenco.  NOAA will set up the new Climate Service to operate in cooperation with NOAA’s National Weather Service and National Ocean Service. Locke said at a news conference this week:

Whether we like it or not, climate change represents a real threat. Climate change is real,  it’s happening now.

Locke went on to say that  climate information is vital to the wind power industry, coastal community planning, fishermen and fishery managers, farmers and public health officials.

Click here to read more on Huffington Post.com

  • Another piece of good news is that the British Columbia government has rejected pressure from mining companies and announced this week that no mining, oil or gas development or coal-bed gas extraction will be allowed in the Flathead Valley in southern British Columbia.  The pristine area borders on a World Heritage Site, B.C.’s Waterton Park and Glacier park in Montana.  The government has said it will, instead, build a new “creative economy” around clean technology, innovative forestry industries and tourism.

Click here to read more.

Here’s a neat time lapse video of the recent snowfall in Washington D.C . posted by YouTube user “amandareckonwith“. Although for those of us on the Canadian prairie a snow storm is not as much as a novelty as it is, perhaps, for those folks in D.C.!

What if it’s all a hoax?

As usual, humour cuts through nonsense to portray an essential truth. I found this cartoon at a blog entitled Globalization and the Environment (click here to visit it). The blogger is Rob Elliot, an economist at the University of Birmingham, UK who has “an interest in all aspects of the Economics of Globalisation especially the environmental implications“.

The cartoon is by Joel Pett, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate, and was published on December 7, 2009 in USA TODAY.