Thursday, October 11, 2007

Face the Light

Last week, as Al Gore closed his presentation before an audience of several thousand, he did so by moving into the future, and by imagining what the young children of today will think when they are middle aged adults.

Will they say, "What were these people thinking"?

Were they blind to the volumes and volumes of scientific research indicating that climate change is real and dangerous?

Were they so lost in their work and in the play of their day, that they just didn't have time to bother with dealing with it?

Were they so numbed by the media or confused by the corporate shaping of a few rogue polluters who controled much of the media of the time?

What made them not respond to this issue, thus making our problems 10 fold more difficult?

Or, as Gore says, will they say:

What uncommon courage and presence of mind our parents showed.

What an amazing thing that when faced with such a challenge, our parents rose to the occasion and led the politicians and the corporations into dealing with climate change.

How did they manage to organize, stand up, and insist that we change the world now, before the world's climate changes us.

These are the choices that Gore leaves his audience with.

Either we will be condemned by those who follow us for our ignorance and folly, or we will be honored and venerated for our wisdom and courage.

And yet, even as new evidence shows that CO2 and other greenhouse gases (CO2 e) are reaching 455 parts per million, right wing nut balls are still lying their pants off, using bogus science, and abusing an old Septegenarion who can't even work for the cigarette companies anymore because he is not "sufficiently rational to offer advice."

Here is David Tattersall on what the new numbers mean:

We now know that the level CO2e (that’s CO2 plus other greenhouse gases converted to equivalent CO2 values) was 455 in 2005; given the dramatic increase since in coal fired power plants, particularly in India and China, plus the continued up swell in the use of oil, what is it now, and how fast is this accelerating?

James Hansen stated in May of 2007 that his window for ‘cataclysmic and unstoppable climate change’ was 450-475 CO2e and prior to that, the level was generally accepted as 400 ppm of CO2e. But they had to move the goal posts as we zoomed past that on February 11, 2006 when the British Government’s Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, confirmed an independent piece of research that the level of CO2e was 425 ppm.

If the year-to-year increase was 30 ppm, that would rapidly turn the planet into a raging inferno! It is entirely within the natural system to rapidly increase the average temperature on Earth (as shown by archeological records) by 10 degrees C, that’s 18 degrees F. With these temperatures, the vast majority of plant and animal life would become extinct. "

Quoting from the story of the new dangerous levels, "What the report establishes is that the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that can potentially cause dangerous climate change," Flannery told the broadcaster late Monday. "We are already at great risk of dangerous climate change, that's what these figures say. It's not next year or next decade, it's now."

"It's a worldwide issue. We've had growing economies everywhere, we're still basing that economic activity on fossil fuels," he said.

"The metabolism of that economy is now on a collision course clearly with the metabolism of our planet."

Outside, I hear the clinging and clanging and roaring of that economy as a new multi story building rises from the 30 foot pit they dug. Throughout the town, the crane count is at an all time high as a bumper crop of 50 story condos break ground.

No one seems to care much that the economy is going to destroy its host during the lifetimes of these buildings.

If we were invaded today by Aliens, the whole world would drop their differences, their ideas about whatever, and we would all join together in an epic struggle to regain our freedom.

We have now been invaded by the dark shadow of our own ignorance,
and like any shadow, we will not be able to catch up to it,

until we turn,

and face the light.

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oZ note: Tomorrow is the Nobel Peace Prize announcement and Gore has canceled a speech in California to fly abroad.
UPDATE: Gore and IPCC share the Peace Prize



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