Your Afternoon Climate Freak-Out

I stumbled across this terrifying thing thanks to a link on Kottke, one on the great blogs (it’s where I nicked this morning’s Cruise Ship video from). This news, reported in Mother Jones, is not so great:

Say what you want about the Obama administration’s relative ignoring of climate issues: Many of his top scientists are paying rapt attention, and they think we’re about to get our butts kicked—although dumping the news at 4 p.m. on a Friday gives some indication of where it sits in federal priorities.

The National Climate Assessment is produced by the US Global Change Research Program, which is tasked with collating climate research from a wide variety of federal agencies and, every few years, distilling it into one major report. The latest, a first draft, is the third such report (the last was in 2009), product of a 1990 law that requires the White House to produce semi-regular updates on climate science to Congress. Today’s report echoes the themes ofearlier editions, and paints a picture that is all the more grim for being an unsurprising confirmation of the dangers we’ve come to know all too well. Here’s the top six things for you to worry about this weekend, according to the report

1. Climate change is definitely caused by human activities. Always nice to hear government officials acknowledge this essential fact. And the report concedes that our only hope of curbing warming is to kick our addiction to greenhouse-gas spewing fossil fuels.

2. Extreme weather is increasing, and that’s our fault, too.  In particular, searing temperatures, heavy rain, and prolonged drought.

The rest is here.

Related: last week I had a barstool conversation with a friendly-seeming  guy who wasn’t positive climate change was as scary as scientists are saying it is. I did my best to bring him up to speed/make him shit his pants in terror by running through some of the well-known impacts: melting Arctic, drought, erratic weather, extra-powerful storms that require tons of money to repair (i.e., New York a few months back), etc. The report Mother Jones discusses covers the same ground except it’s much more thorough than Barstool Steve and it comes directly from scientists working in the field, not just some semi-informed drunk running an alt. paper.

David Suzuki says this stuff all the time and it’s true: we’re in trouble.  We should have started cutting emissions and researching alternative energy on a massive scale more than two decades ago. We’re paying a price for delaying action (which happened thanks to misinformation, propaganda and flat-out lies from climate change deniers, who often have vested interests in the fossil fuel industry).

The global warming bill is only going to go up the longer we ignore it. At some point, it might be too high to pay.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

One thought on “Your Afternoon Climate Freak-Out”

  1. The prospects of famine, heat waves, extreme weather, and more demolishing all of our expectations of what a ‘normal’ lifestyle involves (e.g. food, a career, shelter, health, etc.), is really damn frightening. Think Walking Dead, except with less corpses walking around and more people starving, homeless, and dying of heatstroke and malnutrition.

    Nobody is asking anyone to be Superman and clean up the whole mess on their own, but we are each responsible for those things that do fall within the realm of our own power and will. All of us should be doing what we can as individuals instead of sitting on our collective asses and whining like spoiled children about how the “world won’t change because of me”: the old so-called ‘realist” rhetoric for being a self-centered parasitical lump on the face of existence.

    The government and corporations are no strangers to the ‘realistic’ excuse either. Both frequently choose to do nothing, often in the name of economical sustainability, with many outright denying and/or muzzling facts in exchange for what amounts to nothing more than short term personal gain. This, coupled with the absurdity of the lengths that the climate deniers are willing to go for their economical fantasy land, is absolutely astounding. We have droves of humans lobotomizing their ability to reason for the sole purpose of maintaining a shiny, fragile, and very much illusory world of numbers, as if it were the sensible thing to do in a period of environmental crisis.

    None of them seem to have gotten it through their heads that economics are meaningless if we as a species are dead or dying (i.e. it cuts into profits when you don’t have a market to sell to, duh!). Perhaps they’re all naively expecting themselves to be the exception that survives if (or more likely: when) disaster strikes. The noble hero of the story that defies the odds and traverses the wastes! Or perhaps, we’re just seeing the limits of the average human capacity for caring beyond those things that leave an immediate and lasting stench in our noses.

    Some days it feels as if I have to be reminded why we are supposedly the most advanced species this planet has to offer.

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