March 3, 2007

Hitting the snooze button

Just saw the documentary, Hot Times in Alaska on PBS's Scientific American Frontiers. If watching it does not depress you about the future of the world, nothing will... the alarm has long gone off, we are in perpetual-snooze mode!

What's the bad news, you ask? In short - Alaska is not so frigid, the lakes are disappearing , glaciers and ice are melting faster than ever before, the peat bogs and permafrost in the Tundra are disappearing and are a ticking climate-bomb which can unleash tonnes of methane and CO2 -- its bad news all around from this final frontier.

Remember that it has been less than 150 years since man discovered electricity... just about a century of the high-output mechanized world! We live in a consumption-is-God world and are "drunk on fossil fuels." And although the US is the leader* in this gluttony of consumption with reckless abandon, the rest of the world is fast catching up!

Like Vonnegut writes, "Human beings, past and present, have trashed the joint".... but people don't "give a damn whether the planet goes on or not." We are "too cheap and lazy."

Consider this:
Aircrafts produce about 3% of EU CO2 emissions - more than refineries or steel plants - today. It is expected that, with the increase in the number of flights, aviation will account for 5% of total warming in 2050. Any minor reduction in CO2 output is going to be offset by this and other similar outcomes of our lifestyles merely because of the rate of increase in the world population (9.4 billion by 2050; thats almost 33% more than there were in 2000!); not to forget that billions of people in China and India are moving up to Western standards of living.


* Reminds me of a snippet from the Simpsons, where Bart Simpson says, "What do I need..... More..More ...More... I'm American"

Reference: My compilation post with various links on Global Warming and the Environment.

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