Sunday, April 01, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy, April Fools' Day, 2007

Unfortunately, the April Fools part of this is the realization that so few are paying enough attention, even with Al Gore pushing all the right buttons, and so many dither and think we have time that we don't. On Friday, the second part of the IPCC report on global warming and its consequences will be released, but now is the time to get the draft versions that have been leaked before the cowardly and idiotic politicians who watered down the first report get to do the same to this one. A couple of stories today that should prime you well. This one notes that the richer nations, which the climate models say won't be hit as hard anyway, are taking some actions to mitigate the damage, but not helping the poorer nations who will be the worse hit, at least in the first generation or so of the transition. Says one observer: "Like the sinking of the Titanic, catastrophes are not democratic," said Henry I. Miller , a fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. "A much higher fraction of passengers from the cheaper decks were lost. We'll see the same phenomenon with global warming." From the HOOVER INSTITUTION, one of the biggest right-wing hack orgs on the planet, no less.

Need more convincing? This article details a part of the IPCC report, "a chart that maps out the effects of global warming, most of them bad, with every degree of temperature rise." For a brief period, some northern latitudes might see increased crop yields before the full effects are in force, but that's the only bright spot, so to speak. Overall, we're looking at possibly "as many as 2 billion people could be without water and about 20 percent to 30 percent of the world's species near extinction. Also, more people start dying because of malnutrition, disease, heat waves, floods and droughts -- all caused by global warming. That would happen around 2050, depending on the level of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels. At the extreme end of the projections, a 7- to 9-degree average temperature increase, the chart predicts: "Up to one-fifth of the world population affected by increased flood events" ... "1.1 to 3.2 billion people with increased water scarcity" ..."major extinctions around the globe."

Some mitigation is possible if we act but here's the most comfort the article has to offer: Despite that dire outlook, several scientists involved in the process say they are optimistic that such a drastic temperature rise won't happen because people will reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. "The worst stuff is not going to happen because we can't be that stupid," said Harvard University oceanographer James McCarthy, who was a top author of the 2001 version of this report. "Not that I think the projections aren't that good, but because we can't be that stupid."

Oh, my, my. Please, no one point Professor McCarthy to "Deal or No Deal." Meanwhile, here are a couple of great examples of politician failure, from the DEMOCRATS: Bill Clinton saying and leading with all the right notes . . . two years after he left the job in which he could have done something about what he's talking about and didn't, as can be said about virtually everything he shares responsibility for. And here's idiot Congressman Dingbatt, I mean, Dingell (D-General Motors) convincing himself that the best policy on global warming is the one that splits the difference between those who understand what's going on and those who want to milk the last dime out of the disastrous status quo. And these losers come from the "good" political party.

What would we do if we had real leadership and were serious about dealing with global warming? Might look a lot like the good and do-able ideas that Bill McKibben is recommending in his latest book. But he told us this was going to happen two decades ago and look where we are. We're going to get our crap together now? Oh, wait, sure we are. After all, ". . . we can't be that stupid."

April Fools.