Friday, June 02, 2006

An Opportunity to Rise


*
I already have my tickets for an Inconvenient Truth,

which won't arrive in my town for another couple of weeks,

in my wallet. (Oz note: its here early and now)

In the meantime, Rupert Murdock and his gang of thieves

are in the process of Swift Boating Al Gore.

At some point, it seems to me that this continued reckless endangerment,

might also become a Securities violation.

Just as Ken Lay misrepresented the financial state of Enron,

Lee Raymond has misrepresented the financial future of Exxon

by funding industry friendly science while denying the overwhelming

scientific consensus that will impact his revenues.

When will we rise up?

Here is the last part of the introduction of the Inconvenient Truth.

"Last year, the national academies of science in the eleven most influential nations came together to jointly call on every nation to "acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing" and declare that the "scientific understanding of climate changes is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action."

(snip)

Today, we are hearing and seeing dire warnings of the worst potential catastrophe in the history of human civilization: a global climate crisis that is deepening and rapidly becoming more dangerous than anything we have ever faced.

And yet these clear warnings are also being met with a "blinding lack of situational awareness" -- in this case, by the Congress, as well as the president.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said in a speech not long before his assassination: "We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.

"Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood -- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on.

Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, 'Too late.' There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance in our neglect.

Omar Khayyam is right: 'The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.'"

But along with the danger we face from global warming, this crisis also brings unprecedented opportunities.

What are the opportunities such a crisis also offers? They include not just new jobs and new profits, though there will be plenty of both, we can build clean engines, we can harness the Sun and the wind; we can stop wasting energy; we can use our planet's plentiful coal resources without heating the planet.

The procrastinators and deniers would have us believe this will be expensive. But in recent years, dozens of companies have cut emissions of heat-trapping gases while saving money. Some of the world's largest companies are moving aggressively to capture the enormous economic opportunities offered by a clean energy future.

But there's something even more precious to be gained if we do the right thing.

The climate crisis also offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise.

When we do rise, it will fill our spirits and bind us together. Those who are now suffocating in cynicism and despair will be able to breathe freely. Those who are now suffering from a loss of meaning in their lives will find hope.

When we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all.

It is a moral and spiritual challenge."

An Opportunity to Rise.


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Reprinted from An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It.

"Wheatfield with Rising Sun" Van Gogh

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to take the other side, I recently read "State of Fear", a "Jurassic Park" kind of book where Crieton has a lawyer and two women running around the world debunking Global Warming. The book is intersting in that there are footnotes and comments that seem to be verified.

The author is correct in some of his supositions that the world does indeed cycle and there have been a great many.

Has Global Warming Gone to Your Head?
If you ever find yourself think "Maybe the debate over global warming really is over" just come on back to FTH and dig up this entry. Andrew Revkin, writing for NYT, reports today that three papers published in the journal Nature are detailing new information about the earth's climate history:

The first detailed analysis of an extraordinary climatic and biological record from the seabed near the North Pole shows that 55 million years ago the Arctic Ocean was much warmer than scientists imagined--a Floridian year-round average of 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

How are they going to pin that one on SUVs?

Previous computer simulations did not suggest an ancient Arctic that was nearly so warm, the authors said. So the simulations must have missed elements that lead to greater warming.


But the simulations predicting ice from Greenland stopping the flow of the North Atlantic Current, those simulations must be right? Right?

"Something extra happens when you push the world into a warmer world, and we just don't understand what it is," said one lead author, Henk Brinkhuis, an expert on ancient Arctic ecology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

So there's something our simulations miss, but we know that something has to do with "push[ing] the world into a warmer world." I'm confused.

The new analysis confirms that the Arctic Ocean warmed remarkably 55 million years ago, which is when many scientists say that the extraordinary planetwide warm-up called the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum must have been caused by an enormous burst of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. But no one has found a clear cause for the gas discharge.

But we can speculate that perhaps plant life was abundant and there were a lot of animals and insects farting into the atomospere?

And it couldn't have been man made. But just in case you were starting to have doubts about this man-made climate change, Revkin reminds us:
Almost all climate experts agree that the present-day greenhouse gas buildup is predominantly a result of emissions from smokestacks, tailpipes and burning forests ... Experts not connected with the studies say they support the idea that it is greenhouse gases that largely determine the extent of warming or cooling.

I have myown doubts. I recently went to my obscure of obscure books on Paleometeorolgy and looked at the patterns. There seem to be regual cycles like the NOA and the other scientists seem to be stuck on, but, but, there is a catch in this. In the natural state of things, nauture slides along and builds up and builds down. What I see that has happened is that we have added to the mix which is to say the lemondade is a lot sweeter that it ought to be and so it has become more dangerous. The figures are small percentages, very small percentages but when you add them in they will cause a slight shift.

But why did Revkin have to quote experts not connected with the study? What about the experts connected with the study? After all, those are the experts the article is about, Right?
Finally, buried deep in the article is an image the alarmists don't want you to have in your head. The term alarmist is not right, these are not alarmists in the sense that they are riding from Boston shouting, "the warming is coming!" They are sayin, "Hey, take a look at this and that and put one and one together and: well you can't ignore it. At least I can't ignore it.

When some dope like Hannity says that Global Warming makes Poison Ivy stronger he just laughs. But what happens when the corn stops growing?

Another discovery was found in layers from 49 million years ago, when conditions suddenly fostered the summer growth of mats of an ancient cousin of the azolla duckweed often seen in ponds.
Vegetation in the artic, how awful and unnatural. Seriously though, this climate science stuff is very complex, full of "extra" stuff our simulations don't account for. I'm sure glad Al Gore has concluded the debate ... I was starting to get overwhelmed by the ubiquity of inconclusion.

8:18 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

Dear Anon,

Instead of being confused, ask yourself the question, If the parts per million of CO2 have increased in our atmosphere from 270 parts per million to 380 parts per million as a direct result of the combustion of our carbon fuels, and many many studies have shown a direct relationship between temperature and CO2 concentration, could only a professional hack find ambiguity?

Next time, do us all the favor of signing your work.

By the way, the State of Fear book is fiction... all of it.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Oz
I know it is all fiction.
Sorry to be so tedious
Igor

6:59 PM  
Blogger respectisthehub said...

I have a few questions for Igor.

1) When a neonate comes to a hospital in this country with a temperature of 100.5, they often get the full tilt work for life-threatening illness: blood draws, spinal tap, chest X-Rays, hospital admission for two day observation, etc. For most of them, no deadly bacteria ever grows out of their blood or spinal fluid cultures, but the presumption for each child is that they could have a potentially fatal illness "until proven otherwise." If extreme caution is the default for one febrile baby at the hospital, and lord knows it would be the expectation for the child of any Exxon executive, why is it not the default for the species?

2) Here's a simple exercise anyone can undestand. Draw a circle a meter wide. That's the earth. Now draw a another circle around it a millimeter wide. That's our halo. Forget the massive rock we call the planet. The miraculous wisp of air, water, and earth surrounding the planet is where we live. Stare at that millimeter of life, about the distance between your feet on the ground and a jetliner at cruising altitude, where the air is too thin to breathe. Do you really think that the gases we churn out don't affect that space?

Oz is right. We are facing a spiritual and moral challenge. Pragmatically speaking, we better start studying how to get along and how to get beyond thousands of years of sociopathic leadership. As Al says, we don't have much time.

11:45 PM  

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