August 6, 2008

Global weirding - Implications of our profligacy

Thomas Friedman visits Greenland, learns the language of 'Climate-speak' and returns, awed but indignant. And rightly so. Like he strongly opines:

Our kids are going to be so angry with us one day. We’ve charged their future on our Visa cards. We’ve added so many greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, for our generation’s growth, that our kids are likely going to spend a good part of their adulthood, maybe all of it, just dealing with the climate implications of our profligacy. And now our leaders are telling them the way out is “offshore drilling” for more climate-changing fossil fuels.

Madness. Sheer madness.

And it isn't just ice reefs in the Arctic sea and Antarctic melting away and people in Tuvalu having a sinking feeling ....the effects of this global profligacy will affect us all. Like Friedman points out, quoting Minik Thorleif Rosing, a top geologist at Denmark’s National History Museum and one of his traveling companions:

“Most people will actually feel climate change delivered to them by the postman. It will come in the form of higher water bills, because of increased droughts in some areas; higher energy bills, because the use of fossil fuels becomes prohibitive; and higher insurance and mortgage rates, because of much more violently unpredictable weather."

Remember: climate change means “global weirding,” not just global warming.

He goes on to talk about various changes Greenland, isolated from most of the world's industry and people, is suffering through. I do not know if the increased ice melting and increased CO2 in the air are merely coincidental and merely a part of seasonal transitions and/or part of a recurring cycle in the earth's history. However, a lot of scientific minds are studying this and to dismiss it as another case of people confusing correlation with causation is perhaps being too dismissive of the integrity of scientists. Several like Jim Hansen (and many others; only his name jumps to the forefront because he has also been the public face of the global warming story - both in terms of limelight amongst believers and flak taken from non-believers) have over the years diligently collected lots of scientific data, not just anecdotal evidence like Friedman, to allow them to say with considerable confidence that it is human activity that is hastening, if not causing, these changes.

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