Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Politics and the Environment

Yesterday the White House came out with a report saying that the environment is going to shit. And unfortunately if you believe this or not, really depends on your political view, and not if it is actually factually correct.

But the truth is, the earth is going down the shitter. Last week I tried to explain the difference between global warming and global climate change. Global warming is a natural occurring thing. And global climate change is man made. The whole world is experiencing global climate change, and the White House report reflects on that.

Scientific America---For instance, since 1900 global average temperatures have risen 1.5ºF and are expected to rise another 2ºF given emissions already in the atmosphere but not yet reflected in slow-moving climate systems.

Yet temperatures are rising faster over land than over the ocean and more during the winter than any other season. The result, according to scientists, is that winter temperatures across the Great Plains and Midwest are now some 7º warmer than historical norms.
And that means a reduction in Great Lakes ice cover, which leads to more evaporation, lower water levels, and consequent impacts on shipping, infrastructure, beaches and ecosystems.

Meanwhile the Caribbean and Southeast will see increases in wind, rain and storm surges. California and the Southwest will see drier summers. All will see impacts to human health, water supply, agriculture and other aspects of society, the report's authors concluded.

In Chicago, for instance, annual heat-related deaths per six million people could rise from less than 200 that the city saw in the mid-1970s to almost 700 one generation from now.

In the Northwest, the spring snow pack has already declined 25 percent over the past 40 to 70 years. It will likely shrink another 40 percent by the 2040s, the report said, seriously stressing water supplies, agricultural production and hydropower.

This is exactly what I pointed out last week. Man made effects will change the weather all over the world. It doesn't necessarily mean that it is going to start getting hot everywhere. In some places yes, in other places the exact opposite will happen.

These are facts, they can not be disputed. But if you look at how the Conservatives view this same report, you get a different outlook.

The Heritage Foundation---The Obama administration climate report identifies a number of impacts from global warming including “increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level”; “increased heat, pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes”; and increased “heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents.” These are all bad. But how bad? The report does not put a price tag on any of these maladies. But the report does identify some benefits from global warming including “thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons”, and “earlier snowmelt.” As Manhattan Institute senior fellow Jim Manzi has noted the U.S. should not expect any net economic damage from global warming before 2100. So the net threat for the United States from global warming over the next 90 years is essentially zero.

Reading stuff like this scares the shit out of me. Because this is all about greed. When you sacrifice the environment (“thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons”, and “earlier snowmelt.”) for economic gains that is so 1940's. Even in this tough economic times people need to realize we only have one planet. If we destroy it, that's it. We can't go to another one. This one is ours and we are responsibly for taking care of it. But when you have politicians that deny to even recognize the facts, then it makes me wonder what their agendas are? Big Oil?

If humans continue down this path, the earth is going to end up like the movie Water World. And we know how bad that movie sucked.

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