NASA: Danger Point Closer Than Thought From Warming
Even "moderate additional" greenhouse emissions are likely to push Earth past "critical tipping points" with "dangerous consequences for the planet," according to research conducted by NASA and the Columbia University Earth Institute.Every new prediction gives us less time to clean up our act but we do what really needs to be done - radically alter our lifestyles. I remain that nothing will be done that will really make any difference. Here is one example why I see it that way.
With just 10 more years of "business as usual" emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, says the NASA/Columbia paper, "it becomes impractical" to avoid "disastrous effects."
'Potentially Uncontrollable' Feedback Loops
As the tipping points pass, "there is an acceleration, potentially uncontrollable, of emissions of vast natural stores of greenhouse gas," according to Hansen, who reviewed the study for ABC News today.
Hansen explains that dangerous feedback loops are being tracked in various regions of the planet.
Many studies have reported feedback loops already observed in thawing tundra, seabeds and drying forests.
Hansen also points out that dark — and therefore heat-absorbing — forests are now expanding toward the Arctic, replacing lighter-colored areas such as tundra and snow cover.
A Full Tank of Hypocrisy
It's one of those delicious moments when Washington's hypocrisy is on full and unembarrassed display. On the one hand, some of America's leading politicians condemn high gasoline prices and contend that they stem from "gouging" by oil companies. On the other, many of the same politicians warn against global warming and implore us to curb our use of fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.Now I don't often agree with Mr Samuelson but in this case he is correct. Now I would much rather see the higher cost of gasoline benefiting the ailing US treasure than the bloating profits of oil companies but increased gasoline prices are indeed a way to reduce carbon emissions. But even that is not enough. There simply are no alternatives to oil, coal and natural gas that will allow us to maintain our lifestyles or even our population. In most of the US the infrastructure will not even allow a change in lifestyle. I look up on the hill behind my home and see 4,000 to 5,000 square foot houses being built. Those houses need to be heated and cooled. I raised two sons very comfortably in a 1,600 square foot house.
Guess what: These crowd-pleasing proclamations are contradictory. Anyone fearful of global warming should cheer higher gasoline prices, because much higher prices represent precisely the sort of powerful incentive needed to push consumers toward more fuel-efficient vehicles and to persuade the auto industry to produce them in large numbers. Bravo for higher prices!
US corporations are unable to see beyond the next quarter. These corporations will fight anything that threatens that quarterly profit and they will win - even with the Democrats in control. A democratically controlled congress is encouraging liquefied coal over energy efficiency.
We have the "feel good" actions by a few, carbon credits for example, that will do little or nothing. And Hybrid cars are not the answer.
This won't be the first time in history a civilization has collapsed because of it's own activity but it could be the last.