Monday, November 7, 2011

What's the forecast? Whatever it is, it makes me sad.

[note--I just finished this note, after a spending a couple of days in Cuevas::I'll start writing about that in a few minutes.]
Whew, here comes another one.  I'm was sitting around with an achy foot and frustration building re: Web Design and content development, so I thought I'd see what the popular stories on Yahoo News were...
While topic #1 is interesting, issue #2 falls into a hot button category for me.  
First thing first, I've got to take issue with the use of "Global Warming" in the headline above.  Global Warming feels like a marketing term.  Global Warming isn't something to be feared.  Everybody likes to be warmer don't they?  What's not to like about warm days.  Warm is often accompanied by sunny.  Given all the recent snow in Colorado, I bet one or two folks would enjoy coming to visit Bolivia, where it's warm.

While still having a somewhat positive aspect, (Green) + (House), I like the term Greenhouse in place of Global Warming in the headline there.  "Greenhouse" actually captures some of the science behind what is often called the "Theory of Global Warming" and I feel it's a more neutral term. And while this is a rant for another day, I feel journalism needs to return to a more neutral tone in general.

Other than that, I have little to no argument with the article itself.  Greenhouse gasses are introduced into the atmosphere as a result of development, both past development and ongoing.  Sustaining development requires energy and energy production releases greenhouse gasses.  2010 was a banner year:
The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated...
and this:
Boden said the latest figures put global emissions higher than the worst case projections from the climate panel.
The International Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC, the panel referred to above) worst case scenario would have the global average temperature of the planet rising by 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.  In 2001, the IPCC published this graphic in their report (wikipedia link):
One way to read this chart is:  Depending upon how humanity modifies it's behavior with respect to greenhouse emissions, this is what will happen in year 20xx.  (Note the error bars underneath the years 2025, 2050, 2075 and 2100.)

For instance, if we continue as we (were going) in 2000, in 2050, Earth's temperature will have risen an average of almost 3 degrees C, and we can expect negative consequences in 4 of their 5 Future Scenarios and Uncertainties. On the other hand, if we had implemented the panel's recommended changes quickly and globally, Earth in 2050 would only see a temperature increase of less than 1 degree C with few negative impacts and a planet which resembles the one we live in today.

What's chilling about the article, is that here we are in 2011 and we're exceeding the worst case projections of the IPCC.  It's a terrifying and sad story, and it's one which I can't stand reading about.  But really, what can be done about it?

I look around here in Bolivia and have to ask, "Do you really expect these people to adopt greener practices, when it costs so much more?  Especially when the United States is unwilling to take a leadership role in their implementation."  Here, I'd be happy if people would just dispose of their garbage some place other than a random gutter.

I'll end it there, my brain is starting to go off on a tangent in regard to competing Nation States and their inability to deal with problems of global scale.

Thanks for reading, and yeah, I think we're all fucked.  Sorry Deneb.

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