From LA Times Political Cartoonist David Horsey:
If life were a movie, the president of the United States (probably played by Will Smith) would be leaping into action to save humankind from the calamity that a new scientific report says is about to befall the Earth.
A paper prepared by 22 international scientists and just published in the journal Nature warns that overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change have pushed the world toward a tipping point beyond which lie irreversible, frightening alterations in the biosphere that supports life on this lonely planet.
Of course, since this is not a movie and is, instead, just another surreal election year, the scientists’ alarming analysis will go unheeded. If the report is addressed at all byRepublicans, it will be dismissed as another attempt by fiendish environmentalists to destroy the American economy by reining in polluting industries. If Democrats take note, they will tout their green jobs program as a panacea and quickly move on to a different, less disturbing, subject.
The fact is the scope of the problem as described by the scientists is so immense and so intractable that denial is a natural response. Here is what is happening as we cling to our ignorant bliss and bicker about the president’s birth certificate:
• The world population has passed 7 billion and will hit 9 billion before the middle of the century. To make room for all these people, 40% of the Earth’s surface will be cleared for farms and cities.
• Continued burning of fossil fuels will spew more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and that will make the oceans more and more acidic and literally lethal for sea life.
• All that CO2 will continue to push up global temperatures at a rate too quick for species to adapt. That, combined with the loss of habitat, will result in a massive extermination of bugs and birds and plants and fish and other links in the chain of life that humans depend on.
In an interview for a story by Los Angeles Times reporter Bettina Boxall, the report’s lead author, Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, seemed to resist sounding too alarmist, but it was obviously hard for him to hold back.
“The net effects of what we’re causing could actually be equivalent to an asteroid striking the Earth in a worst-case scenario,” Barnosky said. “I don’t want to sound like Armageddon. I think the point to be made is that if we just ignore all the warning signs of how we’re changing the Earth, the scenario of losses of biodiversity — 75% or more — is not an outlandish scenario at all.”
That is as scary as any apocalyptic scenario dreamed up by Hollywood. In end-of-the-world movies like “Independence Day” or “Armageddon,” nations unite to save themselves while a heroic, bantering band of astronauts or jet pilots zip off to defeat the threat. Unfortunately, in real life we have no heroes, at least among our so-called leaders. All we have is a Congress that can’t even reach a deal to avoid draconian budget cuts and tax hikes that they themselves put into place. And we have a presidential campaign in which the most vocal debate is about which candidate is most out of touch with the average Joe Sixpack.
This is not the cast of characters we need to save the world. This is not the debate we need to have. This is not anything close to leadership at a time of looming disaster.
Unless we can get Will Smith to run for president, I’d say we are doomed.
June 14, 2012
And – for more knowledge:
The paper published in the peer reviewed journal Nature
And some important reading from just the past few days on Global Climate Changes effects in the US.
The Economist: The Vanishing North
US News and World Report on Virginia passing laws to study the effects of global warming only after global warming was removed from the text of the bill.
LA Times on the effect on wildfires
From Australia on how right wing extremists are hijacking the climate change debate
report on Economic costs of global warming sent to conservative Canadian prime minister by government panel.
And just for fun- go to http://www.scholar.google.com and search on whatever aspect of global climate change you wish. IT filters out all the noise- only returning scientific based articles. It’s kind of funny, and kind of alarming how you can google a subject- and get pages and pages of results from the rights perspective, but you go to google scholar, strip away the noise and lies, and often come up with pages and pages that support the left…