All eyes in the climate change community are going to be on President Obama tonight as he delivers his State of the Union address, which outlines his administration’s vision for the next four years. The clip below, from AP, discusses the urgent need for Obama to address climate change (although one wonders why they chose Bill Gates to weigh in on the connection between the current extreme weather and climate change).
As Obama prepares his speech, Mother Nature isn’t waiting for humans to act on climate change. I’m hoping to be reassured in the State of the Union speech that we humans aren’t completely suicidal and lazy, but I’m not sure. The latest news on methane release is very alarming:
January 2013 has seen vast amounts of methane rising from the Arctic Ocean. CH4 molecule is 256 times more powerful in trapping sun’s energy than CO2. If summer time phytoplankton devour CO2 and these are then eaten by methane-belching zooplankton as their exhalation product, a very dangerous positive feedback loop is established between photosynthesizing plankton in summer and methanogenic zooplankton that devour them in the winter darkness, effectively setting a course where CO2 is being converted into CH4 by the ocean microbes. It could also be a result of open oceans in winter darkness leaking out as a result of reduction in methane consuming plankton and bacteria in seas. This would allow more deep water methane to escape without being consumed to CO2.
The Eaarth will put up with only so much abuse, and she is starting to send us louder and louder signals that we need to dramatically change the way we treat her – like our lives depend upon it! Looking for ideas to respond? There’s so many great people and organizations doing amazing work out there. Here’s a few of my favourites: