Year 3, Month 10, Day 6: What The Framp?

The Monterey County Weekly runs a devastating piece by Dan Linehan titled, “We are almost completely f%#&ed— Al Gore rallies citizen deputies to break through climate-change denial while there’s still (a little) hope.” Read the whole thing. Excerpt:

If Al Gore’s environmental truth was inconvenient before, now it’s outright uncomfortable.

Last year was the earth’s hottest on record. Ever. 

That triggered extremes: A drought-generated dust storm reached 50 miles wide and 6,000 feet tall, engulfing Phoenix, Ariz. Tropical Storm Irene hit Killington, Vt., which has a ski mountain tall enough to see Canada – and it’s not too often you see the words “tropical” and “Canada” in the same sentence. Typhoon Megi dumped 45 inches of rain on Taiwan in 48 hours, forcing more than 350,000 people to evacuate.

And this year has scorched 2011. Over a recent month-and-a-half stretch, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 1,692 counties disaster areas due to drought, with about 80 percent of the country’s agricultural land affected. This comes after Russia stopped exporting food due to weather-related crop failures and resulting shortages. The worst drought in more than 100 years hit both North Korea and South Korea. On July 15, Kuwait hit an all-time high of 128.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

National Geographic reports that between 1998 and 2011, there have been 87 severe weather events in the U.S., and each caused at least $1 billion in damages, though they were comparatively modest economically compared to Hurricane Katrina, which topped out at $146 billion. The total disaster price tag nearly doubled the cost of the previous 16-year period. 

Severe weather events, like stronger hurricanes, harsher droughts, wilder floods and fiercer firestorms, are happening with greater frequency. Scientists have been warning us that this – the wallop of planet warming hitting harder and more frequently – was coming.

Good, if agonizing, stuff. Sent September 29:

There is no “solution” to global climate change, because the metastasizing greenhouse effect and its epiphenomena are not one, but a multitude of problems. What we face is a richly complex set of puzzles: how to survive in a rapidly transforming environment, how to slow (and perhaps reverse) that transformation, and how to recognize the processes that have brought us to this point in our civilization’s history.

The key, as always, is education. We as individuals and as a society must understand the factors contributing to climate change: the physics of the greenhouse effect, the chemistry of methane and carbon dioxide, the immediate and long-term costs of fossil fuels, the inherent contradictions of an economy built on a model of continuous growth, and the relentless pressure of an increasing human population.

And, while learning, we must act — as individuals, as families, as communities, as states, as nations, and as a species under threat. Oherwise, the climate crisis will offer only a “final solution.”

Warren Senders

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