Monday, July 24, 2006

Hard Rain Journal 7-24-06: Five Stories about the Reality of Global Warming, Is Continued Denial Criminally Insane?

Hard Rain Journal 7-24-06: Five Stories about the Reality of Global Warming, Is Continued Denial Criminally Insane?

By Richard Power

A mental defect or disease that makes it impossible for a person to understand the wrongfulness of his acts or, even if he understands them, to distinguish right from wrong. Defendants who are criminally insane cannot be convicted of a crime, since criminal conduct involves the conscious intent to do wrong -- a choice that the criminally insane cannot meaningfully make. NOLO Glossary Definition of Criminal Insanity

Here are five news items. Three about the danger to the planet, two about human denial. Five news items. One for each finger of the hand you write with, dial the phone with, or raise into a fist. Three news items about the danger to the planet, And two news items about human denial, a depth of denial that, in this case, should be categorized as criminal or insane. Ah, better yet, criminally insane.

Record-smashing summer heat waves are melting glaciers and causing Swiss Alps to begin to crumble (literally).

Scientists studying forest and peat fires in Siberia, Canada, California and Australia report that global warming has already led to increases in the number of fires and their intensity.

Global warming and deforestation have brought a second consecutive year of drought to the Amazon; one more year of drought, scientists say, could push the whole vast rainforest, the "lungs of the earth," over the tipping point and into a cycle of destruction which would turn it into a savannah at best, and impact weather as far away as Europe.

Meanwhile, in the USA...

The Bush-Cheney administration has removed "to understand and protect our home planet" from NASA's mission statement in an Orwellian effort to curtail the work of outspoken climate scientists like Dr. James Hansen.

And Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the US Senate Committe on the Environment and Public Works told CNN's Glenn Beck that former Vice-President Al Gore is "full of crap" and that "this whole thing is a hoax."

Here excerpts with links to the full stories:

1. The 2003 heatwave triggered major rockfalls on the Matterhorn (Keystone). The risk of rockfalls and landslides in the Alps will continue to grow as the permafrost melts, warn the Swiss authorities. The Federal Environment Office has now drawn up a list of towns and villages most at threat from Switzerland's crumbling mountains. According to officials, all towns and villages situated on the valley floor are in danger of being hit by landslides....In addition to the risk of landslides, a number of places are threatened by lakes of meltwater. The fear is that natural barriers holding in the water could weaken due to global warming or that rockfalls could send a wall of water flooding over the top of dams. Wilfried Haeberli, a geology professor at Zurich University, told the SonntagsZeitung that the chances of a major disaster occurring increased as the permafrost melted....The issue of disintegrating Swiss mountains was brought home ten days ago by the spectacular mass of rock that broke off the Eiger mountain. Hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of rock collapsed after large fissures appeared in a giant slab of stone on the Eiger's eastern flank. Experts warn of more landslides as Alps melt, SWISS INFO, 7-23-06

2. Scientists worldwide are watching temperatures rise, the land turn dry and vast forests go up in flames. In the Siberian taiga and Canadian Rockies, in southern California and Australia, researchers find growing evidence tying an upsurge in wildfires to climate change, an impact long predicted by global-warming forecasters. Forest and peat fires release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, adding to climate warming, which in turn will intensify forest fires, further worsening warming in a planetary feedback loop. "This is a carbon bomb," said Johann Goldammer, director of the Global Fire Monitoring Center at Germany's Freiburg University. "It's sitting there waiting to be ignited, and there is already ignition going on." Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press, 7-22-06

3. Deep in the heart of the world's greatest rainforest, nine days' journey by boat from the sea, Otavio Luz Castello is anxiously watching the soft waters of the Amazon drain away. Every day they recede further, like water running slowly out of an unimaginably immense bath, threatening a global catastrophe....It is a sign that severe drought is returning to the Amazon for a second successive year. And that would be ominous indeed. For new research suggests that just one further dry year beyond that could tip the whole vast forest into a cycle of destruction. Just the day before, top scientists had been delivering much the same message at a remarkable floating symposium on the Rio Negro, on whose strange black waters this capital city of the Amazon stands. They told the meeting - convened on a flotilla of boats by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Greek Orthodox Church, dubbed the "green Pope" for his environmental activism - that global warming and deforestation were rapidly pushing the entire enormous area towards a "tipping point", where it would irreversibly start to die. The consequences would be truly awesome. The wet Amazon, the planet's greatest celebration of life, would turn to dry savannah at best, desert at worst. This would cause much of the world - including Europe - to become hotter and drier, making this sweltering summer a mild foretaste of what is to come. In the longer term, it could make global warming spiral out of control, eventually making the world uninhabitable. Geoffrey Lean, Dying Forest: One Year to Save the Amazon: Time is running out for the Amazon rainforest. And the fate of the 'lungs of the world' will take your breath away, Independent, 7-23-06

4. Yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attacked Al Gore and global warming science, claiming that Gore was “full of crap” on global warming. Appearing on Glenn Beck’s radio show and CNN television program, Inhofe said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that global warming was real and caused by humans, used “one scientist.” Inhofe added: “[A]ll of the recent science…it confirms that I was right on this thing. This thing is a hoax."
Think Progress, 7-21-06

5. From 2002 until this year, NASA’s mission statement, prominently featured in its budget and planning documents, read: “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can. In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” deleted. In this year’s budget and planning documents, the agency’s mission is “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”....The “understand and protect” phrase was cited repeatedly by James E. Hansen, a climate scientist at NASA who said publicly last winter that he was being threatened by political appointees for speaking out about the dangers posed by greenhouse gas emissions....The revised mission statement was released with the agency’s proposed 2007 budget on Feb. 6. But Mr. Steitz said Dr. Hansen’s use of the phrase and its subsequent disappearance from the mission statement was “pure coincidence.”....Dr. Hansen said the change might reflect White House eagerness to shift the spotlight away from global warming. “They’re making it clear that they have the authority to make this change, that the president sets the objectives for NASA, and that they prefer that NASA work on something that’s not causing them a problem,” he said. NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet, New York Times, 7-22-06

The political establishment is not providing leadership. The news media is not providing leadership.

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.


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Words of Power #25: Lost Symbols, Part II -- The Rainbow Serpent Hisses, Lessons about Sustainability & Survival from Darfur, Senegal and Ecuador

Hard Rain Journal 6-27-06: Global Warming, Bush's Alleged "Incompetence," and the So-Called "Conservative" Agenda

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

Words of Power #7: Global Warming Is A Security Threat To Your Family & Your Business

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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