Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Climate Crisis Update 7-24-07: Even Though The Sand Grains In The Hour Glass Are Dwindling Away, There is Still Time -- What Will You Do?

Image: Variations of the Earth's surface temperature: year 1000 to year 2100, IPCC

The chief executives of 160 largest United States companies released a new policy statement on climate change here, Tuesday, warning that ‘’the consequences of global warming for society and ecosystems are potentially serious and far-reaching’’ and asserting that "the time for action is now." Jim Loeb, Inter Press Service, 7-18-07

Climate Crisis Update 7-24-07: Even Though The Sand Grains In The Hour Glass Are Dwindling Away, There is Still Time -- What Will You Do?

By Richard Power

The planet, as a whole, is in dire need of bold leadership.

So are most families, most circles of friends and most organzations around the world; tragically, and embarrassingly, this is particularly true in the USA.

Here is an update, which includes excerpts from four recent news stories and one recent op-ed piece, along with some suggestions on how to participate in the struggle to save the world as we now it, and make it much better in the process. Please share this update with your family, friends and colleagues and discuss what you are going to do.

Global rainfall patterns have already begun to change, with profound implications:

A study has yielded the first confirmation that global warming is already affecting world’s rainfall patterns, bringing more precipitation to northern Europe, Canada and northern Russia but less to swathes of sub-Saharan Africa, southern India and Southeast Asia.
The changes “may have already had significant effects on ecosystems, agriculture and human regions that are sensitive to changes in precipitation, such as the Sahel,” warns the paper, released on Monday by Nature, the British science journal.
Agence France Press, 7-23-07

Global warming could trigger hurricanes, or tropical cyclones, over the Mediterranean sea, threatening one of the world's most densely populated coastal regions, according to European scientists.
Hurricanes currently form out in the tropical Atlantic and rarely reach Europe, but a new study shows a 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in average temperatures could set them off in the enclosed Mediterranean in future.
"This is the first study to detect this possibility," lead researcher Miguel Angel Gaertner of the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo, Spain, told Reuters on Monday.
Reuters, 7-17-07

Once again, intense heat, floods, and huge fires are causing hardship across Europa:

Up to 500 people have died in a heatwave in the past week in Hungary, the country's chief medical officer said Tuesday as Europe struggled to cope with extreme weather conditions.
Soaring temperatures across southern and eastern Europe claimed scores of lives, including in southern Italy where a wildfire Tuesday burned two people alive in their car and suffocated another two when it spread to a beach nearby.
At the same time, Britain struggled to cope with the worst flooding for 60 years, which has seen some towns turned into islands and hundreds of thousands of homes left without power or running water.
Agence France Press, 7-24-07

Even what you order for dinner has an incredible impact:

A kilogram (2.2 pounds) of beef causes more greenhouse-gas and other pollution than driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on back home, according to a Japanese study.
A team led by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, calculated the environmental cost of raising cattle through conventional farming, slaughtering the animal and distributing the meat, New Scientist reports in next Saturday's issue. ...
A Swedish study in 2003 suggested that organic beef emits 40 percent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 percent less energy because the animal is raised on grass rather than concentrated feed.
Agence France Press, 7-20-07

And yet, even as the sand grains fall within the hour glass, most people still do not understand their personal responsibility or the need for urgent national and international action:

Metaphorically, we are at the doctor’s office, looking at the horrible test results of years of bad habits. The doctor is bluntly giving us the bad news — the Earth is plagued with a very deadly disease. You choose, says the doctor: I can give you a list of things you can do to help the Earth today, next month and 10 years from now. I can give you ways to slow down, stop and even reverse the spreading of the disease. Or, he says, there is the easier option — continue on with your normal life, do nothing and accept the likely consequences when this disease metastasizes.
Anyone with a brain would say to the doctor, “Are you crazy? Of course I want the first option!” Yet actually making an effort to shake environmentally bad habits that have become so second nature to us is another story altogether. Trade in my car for a bicycle? Sacrifice a vacation or two by plane? No, thank you.
Lauren Adler, Global Warming: Identifying The Problem Is Not The Solution, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 7-23-07

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Want to wake people up to the US mainstream news media's complicity in misinforming the public on global warming and climate change? Click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

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For a directory of Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates, click here.

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