You may have seen this, but even if you have, it’s worth watching again. There is so much crammed into two minutes that you can’t look away even for a nanosecond. The imminent future is included too. It’s a future that’s not too hard to predict.
Tag Archives: climate change
Extreme weather events like last year’s drought, catastrophic hurricanes and the upward trend in annual temperatures don’t convince the skeptics. Unlike conservative politicians in other countries, Republicans, especially Tea Party members, continue to deny the climate changes that the U.S. and the rest of the world are experiencing. The Pew Research Center reported last October that 56 percent of Democrats believe global warming is a big problem, but only 19 percent of Republicans do. Why? Why do Republicans dig in their heels in the face of so much evidence?
For one thing, libertarians and the extreme right, the same people who arm themselves against a despotic government takeover, are fond of conspiracy theories. They fear that warnings of global warming may be an excuse to raise taxes, part of a plot to take away their freedom and destroy jobs with laws like cap and trade. Republican political strategist and energy lobbyist Michael McKenna said the issue “is a surrogate, a totem for how you feel about large government versus small government.”
Scientists and the readers who follow them know that the earth is warming very fast, even faster than anticipated. Ten of the last 15 years were the hottest ever in the U.S., and 2012 was the hottest of all. The worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s parched 64 percent of the lower 48 states, killed livestock and wiped out crops, resulting in a multi-billion dollar loss to American agriculture. Wildfires fueled by the heat and the drought laid waste to vast expanses, the largest on record.
The yearly global temperature in 2012 makes it the 36th consecutive year (since 1976) that the yearly global temperature was above the 20th-century average. Every year in the 21st century has been among the warmest in the 133-year record.
The rising temperatures on land and sea contributed to changes in weather patterns and extreme events in both hemispheres. (See the map above here.) China is in the grip of its coldest winter in 30 years; more than 650 people died in the frigid cold that froze most of Eurasia; floods inundated Pakistan, the U.K. and the Middle East; the strongest typhoon ever in the Philippines killed more than 900 people; severe snowstorms battered Sicily and southern Italy; Brazil is sweltering in record heat; snowstorms crippled the Middle East — and this is only a partial list of disasters attributable to global warming.
The mean temperature deviations recorded since 1967 are graphed in red. They clearly indicate a definite warming trend over 43 years. The snowfall amounts (in blue), however, don’t correlate at all with the temperatures.
Climate change means an increase in extreme weather events like recent superstorm Sandy, as well as extreme temperatures on both high and low ends. A week of frigid temperatures from the Great Plains to the Northeast doesn’t contradict the warming trend of the planet. Writing in the Guardian, Blogger Harry J Enten warns that
It’s important to remember that the last few days are a very small location and sample size. While the east is a tundra, Denver, Colorado is dealing with near-record highs with temperatures in the 60s. When we expand our look to over the past month, record high maximums and minimums are running 2 to 1 ahead of record low maximums and minimums in the United States. The United States’ average temperature in 2012 was 55.3F – 3.2F above the 20th-century average and 1F above the previous record, 1998.
Weather patterns have very many variables, which makes them incredibly complex. It’s the trends that are telling, much more than individual events.
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And if you still can’t see it, go here.
Each year, four international science institutions compile temperature data from thousands of stations around the world and make independent judgments about whether the year was warmer or cooler than average. “The official records vary slightly because of subtle differences in the way we analyze the data,” said Reto Ruedy, climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “But they also agree extraordinarily well.”
All four records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades. All show the last decade has been the warmest on record.
Kicking off a series of posts on climate change on VBI is “It’s Time to Find Common Ground for Our Common Atmosphere.” The speed-drawing video has scientists of both red and blue persuasions finding common ground — areas of agreement on the dangers of global warming accelerated by greenhouse gases.
The scientists are Democrat Peter C. Frumhoff, an ecologist who directs science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Republican Kerry Emanuel, a veteran climate and hurricane researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The authors urge everyone who sees the video to pass it on to friends, family and at least one person with political views different from their own.
Hat tip: Andrew Revkin
VBI has been quiet for over a week now— no surprise to my faithful readers.
I could say I’ve busy with the holidays, my daughter’s wedding plans, the necessity of tackling various to-dos that could no longer be postponed, making and keeping unpleasant but unavoidable appointments— I could say that’s why I haven’t written. I could think up many more reasons/excuses, some more valid than others.
Depression has many guises. At first, these pretexts are plausible and convincing, but as time grinds on and accomplishments become fewer and fewer, a sense of inevitability stifles the imagination and cripples attempts at forward movement. The result is a vicious cycle: the less you do, the more depressed you become; the more depressed, the less you do.
Unless, that is, something breaks the cycle, and you manage to accomplish something, no matter how small. Continue reading