Year 2, Month 11, Day 25: It Looks Like It’s Climbing Clear Up To The Sky

The Gannett News Service for New York’s Lower Hudson Valley is called; they run an article about the study of climate change’s impact on New York state:

If you lost power after the recent nor’easter or struggled with flooding from Tropical Storm Irene, gear up. There’s more to come.

Scientists at some prestigious New York universities say the recent bizarre weather may be a part of a trend in the coming decades as the state faces an outsize effect of climate change because of its northern latitude and geology.

“It’s certainly an excellent example of what is to come,” said Klaus Jacob, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Palisades-based Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, one of several scientists who authored a study on the impact of climate change on New York state.

“It has been relatively rare till now. What will be different is that it will be more frequent. Therefore the impact will be more severe,” Jacob said.

This letter was a little longer than 150 words; I didn’t have time to pare it down due to various domestic exigencies. Sent Nov. 21:

The Energy Research and Development Authority study on climate change’s likely impact on New York State is just one of several recently released documents to discuss the shape of our future in a post-greenhouse-effect world. Along with the globally relevant work of NASA, the International Energy Agency, and the IPCC, regionally-focused climatologists have helped build a pile of scientific evidence far higher than your average denialist’s head. The picture they paint of the coming century is not a pretty one.

Those “once-in-a-lifetime” storms are going to be coming once or twice a decade; maybe even more often. More droughts, heat waves, shattered infrastructure, disrupted agriculture — our children and grandchildren may not be able to forgive us our decades of apathy.

While it will take many centuries for excess atmospheric CO2 to dissipate even if we stopped burning fossil fuel tomorrow, there is no longer any time for temporizing if we are to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Our politicians must stop protecting the oil industry’s profits, and bend their efforts towards protecting all of us from the consequences of climaticide.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 11, Day 14: Driving The Limo Off The Cliff

The Wall Street Journal reports from the soft white (very white) underbelly of global capitalism, with their perspective on the IEA report:

LONDON—Dangerous climate change will be essentially irreversible within a little over five years, the International Energy Agency said in an annual report urging governments to do what they can to prevent this outcome.

To prevent long-term average global temperatures rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels—seen as the maximum possible increase without serious climate disruption—immediate, drastic changes to energy and industrial policies are needed, the IEA said in its World Energy Outlook.

Such a shift looks unlikely given current global economic problems and the move away from low-carbon nuclear power in some countries after the …

Well, that was one of the quickest remakes I’ve ever done. Sent November 9:

It’s been almost two hundred years since scientists first discovered the greenhouse effect, and more than fifty years since Arctic ice melt caused by increased atmospheric CO2 was predicted (in a 1953 edition of Popular Mechanics!). During that time an entire scientific discipline has developed, and climatologists have been steadily developing analytical and predictive tools of ever-greater precision and sophistication, as evidenced by their unsettling tendency to be right more and more often.

For five decades these scientists have warned American lawmakers about the looming climate crisis, only to see the problem get shelved for more electorally immediate concerns. No more. The International Energy Agency’s analysis is clear and sobering: we’re out of time. If our descendants are to have a world that’s fit to live in, climate-change denialists must relinquish their improbable conspiracy theories and join the rest of us in effecting a profound restructuring of our planetary energy economy.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 11, Day 13: This Is Not A Test

The New York Daily News (GAAAH!) reports on the just-released warning from the International Energy Agency:

Time is running out to reverse the effects of global warming, according to a new report.

In a sobering analysis of the planet’s energy future, the International Energy Agency said that governments around the world have five years to reverse the course of climate change before it’s too late.

“The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, told the Guardian. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety].

“The door will be closed forever.”

The World Energy Outlook report, which looks at the future of the planet’s energy system over the next 25 years, revealed that urgent investment in renewable power and energy efficiency is needed to keep global temperature gains at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a crucial ceiling set by climate scientists.

Once that door shuts, that’s it. Writing a historically referenced letter to the NYDN is probably an exercise in futility. I’ll paraphrase it and send tomorrow’s letter to the WSJ in a little while, which will put me five days ahead of the curve. Whee!

Sent November 9:

The greenhouse effect was first described in the early 1800s, and first measured in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish physicist. Arctic ice melt caused by increased atmospheric CO2 was postulated in 1953, and climatologists have been studying the problem ever since. Their analyses have been steadily getting more accurate, and their predictions have been confirmed time and time again.

For fifty years environmental experts have been warning American lawmakers about the consequences of our profligate energy consumption, and for the past fifty years we’ve been kicking it down the road for “the next guy” to deal with — a strategy that just ended with the release of the International Energy Agency’s “five-year warning.” The climate-change denialists need to abandon their improbable conspiracy theories and join the rest of us in making a world that’s safe for our descendants.

We can’t say we weren’t warned. We can only say we didn’t care.

Warren Senders