Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: It may not be too late... .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Sunday, August 21, 2005

It may not be too late...

Yeah, I know gas prices suck. I had to fill up at the station myself this week. And I know everyone's cheering the Robin Williams comment about offering $10 a barrel, take it or leave it.

Of course, you know it's bunk (Robin never said it), and we know that if we don't buy it, someone else will.

But this isn't about buying oil. It's about using oil. Global warming is an issue that's been polarizing Americans lately, and it's not going to go away. Some scientists have predicted ecolological disasters, and other scientists have said it's bunk, just like the Robin Williams piece.

But you have to look at the data before you decide on your position.

Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are likely to accelerate the rate of climate change.

Scientists expect that the average global surface temperature could rise 1-4.5°F (0.6-2.5°C) in the next fifty years, and 2.2-10°F (1.4-5.8°C) in the next century, with significant regional variation. Evaporation will increase as the climate warms, which will increase average global precipitation.

Soil moisture is likely to decline in many regions, and intense rainstorms are likely to become more frequent. Sea level is likely to rise two feet along most of the U.S. coast.

Average temperatures have increased over the past decade by more than a degree. That may not seem like much, but if you compare that with data from before the industrial revolution and exptrapolate the exponential increase in fuel consumption (and it's effect on the greenhouse effect), along with future industrial and transportation emissions, we're screwed.

Basically, if we continue our energy consumption at the current rate, we can expect a temperature rise, and a related sea level rise, of bibilical proportions. The Houston Ship Channel will become part of the Gulf of Mexico. The Ohio Valley will become the Ohio Basin. New Orleans will become the new Atlantis.

Unless we do something to reduce our carbon emisions, we're going to be living in a far different world than we are now. Living on the Gulf Coast, I'm concerned that my house may become a part of the Gulf of Mexico. But unless you live in the mountains, you will be affected also. Already the Pacific Northwest is experiencing an exceptionally dry summer, which is almost an oxymoron.

Hurricane season is getting worse - ask anyone that lives in Florida. Floods are affecting everyone from the midwest to the northeast. It's natural, but it's not normal. Tornado alley has expanded to parts of the country that has never had to deal with it before.

There's only one way to stop it. Reduce carbon emissions. Its not about spray cans anymore. Its about giving up your SUV for a more fuel efficient vehicle. I, myself, drive a pickup truck, mainly for utility reasons. But I've got to look for a more environmentally friendly solution, as should everyone.

If we don't, we'd better either head for higher ground, or grow gills.


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