Friday, November 25, 2016

It's Later Than We Think

The news on climate change is not good -- and it's getting worse. The mainstream media are beginning to get the message. Ole Hendrickson writes:

The headline of a recent Washington Post article says "The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends." Scientists are stunned by the magnitude of this deviation from past climate norms, as warm air keeps flooding into the high Arctic. But don't be fooled into thinking this means a warm winter in Canada. Even as the Arctic Ocean stubbornly resists winter, extreme cold has prevailed over Siberia and could spread to North America. This represents an ever-more chaotic climate. 

Another example is a must-read New Yorker article entitled "Greenland is melting," by Elizabeth Kolbert, winner of the 2015 non-fiction Pulitzer Prize for The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Kolbert describes in great detail what scientists working in Greenland are witnessing: "The shrinking of the country's ice sheet is triggering feedback loops that accelerate the global crisis. The floodgates may already be open." 

We are rapidly approaching a worse case scenario:

How bad could it get? Scientists aren't talking about complete human extinction, are they?
Sorry, but they are indeed. This may be the first you've heard of "euxinia" (pronounced "yuke-zenia"), but basically, this involves a planet devoid of higher life forms that depend on oxygen, oceans choked with rotting organic matter and bacteria spewing out toxic hydrogen sulfide. This happened during past mass extinctions, notably the biggest of all at the end of the Permian Period, 252 million years ago.

One study published this year says "exacerbation of anoxic "dead" zones is already progressing in modern oceanic environments, and this is likely to increase…" Another study says "[g]lobal warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic." Authors of the latter study add that "[t]he end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change."

And Mr. Trump thinks it's all a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.



Steve said...

Owen, IMHO like Lenoard Cohn sang, everybody knows. Everybody knows the situation is out of control. The Paris accords urination into the wind. So how to deal, try and bend the curve so sometime in 2150 the trend will return to balance, or just be a nihilist and let God sort it all out. The problem with GOD has become even bigger than the problem with Kansas. Billions of people totally believe that everything is in Gods hands. Humans do not have an opposable sum in that mind.

Owen Gray said...

I think you mean "opposable thumb," Steve. And, yes, we can do something about it.

Lorne said...

This is the grimmest scenario I have yet read, Owen. Unfortunately, the cold winter that is being predicted for our part of the world will embolden the ignorant and the deniers among us to proclaim that climate change is indeed a hoax.

Owen Gray said...

It's always been popular to blame our suffering on "the gods," Lorne. But Cassius was right: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves."

The Mound of Sound said...

Lorne spoke too soon when he wrote, "This is the grimmest scenario I have yet read," Owen. Today the Stockholm Environment Institute released its Arctic Resilience Report that listed a staggering 19 climate tipping points we're about to trigger in the far north that, without more, could bring on rapid, runaway climate change. And then, to top it off, George Monbiot wrote of "The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces."

I earnestly hoped that I would have long departed this mortal coil before these calamities hit, Owen. Seems I had that wrong too.

Happy Black Friday everyone. Shop till you drop.

Owen Gray said...

The evidence keeps piling up, Mound. And we mouth Sergeant Shultz' line, claiming we see nothing at all. There is always a price to be paid for willful ignorance. But this time the price may be extinction.

Anonymous said...

No , no you are wrong the climate is normal; just look at the comments in the National Post when climate is mentioned!!
It's clear as a can be.
Global warming is a hoax because Obama has nose hair and the Green Party use Vespas to commute.

Yes it sucks but don't fret.


Owen Gray said...

That's one of my favourite Python bits, T.B. It's better to laugh than to cry.