Thursday while Republicans were denying climate change and debating penis and finger sizes, something happened that could move us closer to an extinction-level event on Earth. Across the northern hemisphere the temperature crossed a line: It was more than two degrees Celsius above “normal ranges” for the first time in recorded history, and it’s very likely it’s the first time in the course of the entire human race.
All of the major governments have set 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as the tipping point, it only happened for a few hours – but as economist William Nordhaus recognized back in 1975 – 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit would “take the climate outside of the range of observations which have been made over the last several hundred thousand years.”
It’s important to note that most of this hemisphere has not really had much of a winter. Anchorage for instance has been trucking in snow for the Iditarod; Arctic sea ice is at a record low level for the current date; New England doctors are already ramping up for allergy season.
It’s the hope that this glimpse of the future is only temporary and that it’ll be years before we breach the 2 degree line again or on a regular basis. But the future is clearly coming, and global warming is showing it’s ugly face. If we take February as a whole it crushed all previous temperature records, which had been set in January. January likewise crushed all the previous records set in December. And so forth.
El Nino is playing it’s hand here as well and has caused some really tremendous storms and Cyclones in the South Pacific, for instance Tropical Cyclone Winston crashed into Fiji and wiped out 10% of the entire nation’s GDP, i.e. imagine 10 disasters the size of Hurricane Katrina all hitting at once.
The fact is this: Global warming is not made up. It’s not a future threat – it’s a present day reality that we need to come to grips with. Water scarcity, floods, and droughts are already happening all over the world as a result of global warming. Part of the unrest in Syria has to do with droughts. This is so serious that it should be the only issue debated at all presidential debates. We already halfway to china and digging an even bigger hole, the time is now that we need to stop all fossil fuel operations keep the coal and oil buried for good.
Currently there is legislation in the House and Senate that would end new fossil fuel extraction on America’s public lands. Senator Sanders has backed the law unequivocally; Secretary Clinton has come out for and against it depending on the audience she is addressing. Donald Trump is still denying climate change exists along with the rest of the Republicans, and concentrating on the length of his fingers and genitalia.
In May protesters from around the world are going to converge on the world’s biggest offenders including the coal mines of Australia, gas fields of Russia, and tar sands of Canada. They will engage in a peaceful civil disobedience as an effort to just say no.
It’s asinine that our house is on fire but everyone is running around throwing different things on it trying to put it out like Alcohol, more wood, cold hard cash, while the temperature rises, and the kids remain upstairs asleep in the bed with Fido the family dog.
Bill McKibben put it beautifully in an article in the Boston Globe that inspired this one:
This is, in one sense, stupid. It’s ridiculous that at this late date, as the temperature climbs so perilously, we still have to take such steps. Why do Bostonians have to be arrested to stop the Spectra pipeline? Anyone with a thermometer can see that we desperately need to be building solar and windpower instead.
In a much deeper sense, however, the resistance is valiant, even beautiful. Think of those protesters as the planet’s antibodies, its immune system finally kicking in. Our one earth is running a fever the likes of which no human has ever seen. The time to fight it is right now.
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