Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Age of Ignorance

Well, following up on yesterday's post about the Arctic, the ice melt continues. Here's the story from the Post:

Scientists Report Further Shrinking of Arctic Ice
Area Is Close To All-Time Low

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2008; A03

Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second-lowest level since record-keeping began three decades ago, a group of international researchers determined yesterday, a revelation underscoring how rapidly climate change is transforming ecosystems in northern latitudes.

The extent of Arctic sea ice is now 2 million square miles below the long-term average for Aug. 26, according to the International Arctic Research Center and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, a figure that is within 400,000 square miles of the all-time record low set in September 2007.

This figure is already below the long-term average for September ice cover and because the ice traditionally reaches its minimum level in mid-September, researchers warned that a new low might be recorded within weeks.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which independently analyzes Arctic ice cover, will announce today that it has reached the same conclusion, based on a five-day mean of satellite measurements.

"If we continue to lose ice at this rate, we will best the 2007 record", said Julienne Stroeve, an research scientist. "We're going to lose that ice, so we've got to understand what this means for the rest of us." clip

"Two weeks ago, the federal Climate Change Science Program released a "synthesis and assessment" report examining global warming in the Arctic and northern latitudes that suggests the region has already suffered ice loss of an "immense magnitude and unprecedented nature."

The report, which is open for public comment until Sept. 25, adds that the "current sea ice reduction . . . is progressing at a very fast rate that appears to have no analogs in the past" and that "sustained changes in sea-ice coverage may cause perhaps the largest temperature changes observed on the planet." (more)

Meanwhile, down here in the lower latitudes, we've had record heat, and now, another hurricane may be headed for New Orleans. I know its impossible to fathom, but so is another four years of "Rs" wrecking everything in sight.

The words "climate change" were heard last night. And they were spoken by the Governor of Montana. (watch) And, by most accounts, he did a pretty good job of outlining a smart energy policy as well as getting the folks out of their seats.

But as I shared with a guy from a big time law firm at lunch today, "In the next few years, putting carbon into our atmosphere is going to be as civilized as puking on your grandmother's china".

Soon, much sooner than anyone thinks, we are going to have to start mining the CO2 from the air. We're going to have to quit running away from the problems that lay ahead, and not just slow down our emissions, we're going to have to reverse them.

We will have to begin mining the atmosphere like we have never contemplated before.

We will have to plant trees everywhere, water them, cut them down, and use the lumber to build houses and offices that last 500 years. Perhaps we will even build roads with atmsopheric carbon instead of fossil carbon. Every fiber in every sport jacket that is presently made out of oil will need to be made from the CO2 in the air. ( cotton , wool, wood fibers)

In a decade or so, as the science of nanotechnology matures, we will build atom by atom with the carbon we have released during this age of fossil fuels.

Concrete and steel will be replaced with advanced forms of reconfigured atmospheric carbon.

We will turn the earth green, and our cities will flower.

Our inside walls will glow, and our outside walls will be generators.

And our power companies will be more like banks.

And the Age of Ignorance will end.

And it won't be that bad.


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