Thursday, December 13, 2007
Posted on Dec 11, 2007
By Amy Goodman
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this week, in Oslo, Norway. Al Gore shared the prize with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which represents more than 2,500 scientists from 130 countries. The solemn ceremony took place as the United States is blocking meaningful progress at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate have derailed the energy bill passed by the House of Representatives, which would have accelerated the adoption of renewable energy sources at the expense of big-oil and coal corporations.
Gore set the stage: “So, today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.
“As a result, the Earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong. We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.”
He went on: “Last Sept. 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the north polar ice cap is ‘falling off a cliff.’ One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.”
How will climate-change skeptics explain that one? (Already, big business is celebrating the break up of the polar ice cap, as a northern sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific is opening, creating a cheaper route for more needless shipping.) It is hard to imagine the north pole, the storied, frozen expanse of ice and snow, completely gone in just a few years. Lost as well will be the vast store of archeological data trapped in the ice: thousands of years of the Earth’s climate history are told in the layers of ice that descend for miles there. Scientists are just now learning how to read and interpret the history. The great meltdown will surely have catastrophic effects on the ecosystem in the north, with species like the polar bear already edging toward extinction.
Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian scientist, accepted for the IPCC. He is a careful scientist with the political finesse to chair the work of the IPCC despite the enduring antagonism of the United States. He pointed to the disproportionate effect of climate change on the world’s poor:
“[T]he impacts of climate change on some of the poorest and the most vulnerable communities in the world could prove extremely unsettling ... in terms of: access to clean water, access to sufficient food, stable health conditions, ecosystem resources, security of settlements.”
Pachauri predicts water wars and mass migrations. “Migration, usually temporary and often from rural to urban areas, is a common response to calamities such as floods and famines.”
Dinosaurs lived here for 100 million years(approx. nobody really knows) and never endangered their surroundings, if not for meteorites slamming Earth they would probably still be here. But give humanity the industrial age of 200 and voila! We are the biggest destructive influence on this planet. Our devotion to fossil fuel combustion has earned us the reputation of planetary destructionists.
We will be the only creature to create it's own demise on this planet ever.
Quite an accomplishment.