Measuring Climate Change -Let Me Count the Ways

Jeanne Roberts


Readers love lists, so I thought this would be an ideal time to generate a list of talking points that climate realists (that is, those who believe in global warming and climate change) can use to confront deniers.

 

1. Arctic sea ice is at the lowest it has ever been, meaning global warming is accelerating in that “negative feedback loop” scientists warned us about.

arctic ice melt

 

2. Because so much Arctic ice has melted, the open waters of the Arctic – locked for centuries under their ice prisons – are beginning to release record amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) implicated in global warming.

 

3. In fact, methane is 100 times more potent (over 10 years) in causing global temperature rise than is carbon dioxide, or CO2, the gas most often implicated in global warming.

 

4. Coral reefs, decimated by the ocean acidity associated with excess CO2, may be completely gone by the end of the century. This, after being a part of mankind’s world for the last 500,000 years.coral reef

 

5. This past summer in the United States was the hottest in the last 75 years. Louisiana and Oklahoma broiled. New Mexico, Texas and parts of California burned, with Dallas, Texas experiencing 40 days of 100-plus heat.

 

6. Along with that record heat came flooding along the Atlantic Coast, from Virginia to Vermont, as Hurricane Irene – one of the worst on record – retreated.  

 

7. But it wasn’t just heat and hurricanes. The U.S. also experienced record extreme weather events, including blizzards in the 2010-2011 winter, and weather researcher Donald Wubbles is saying: “There is no such thing as natural weather anymore.” The indigenous people of Alaska are quick to agree as their villages disappear under rising water. Unfortunately, the same extreme situation reigns in Europe and elsewhere.

 

8. Along with global warming, the earth is experiencing extinction of species. Some is from climate change. In other species, the direct cause is man. This is the case with ocean fish, which have been hunted to extinction to feed an ever-larger human population. Your children (and mine) may be the first generation to live in a world without tuna, or orange roughy, thanks to deep-sea fishing. In fact, if the situation gets any worse, the UN is thinking of stepping in and preventing it.

 

So how are big oil companies like Exxon Mobil taking the global warming/climate change/extreme weather news? Exxon in particular measures global warming by the amount of money it has invested in taking oil and gas out a newly ice-free Arctic. Can you say a possible $500 billion? This, while also funding deniers to the tune of millions.  Meanwhile, Exxon also spends millions to “green” its image as it advertises its investigation of biofuels.

 

What’s up with that? It reminds me of my atheist father, who – on his deathbed asking for a priest, said: “Just hedging my bets, honey.” 

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  • Posted on Sept. 30, 2011.

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