With no improvement in our rate of burning fossil fuels since the early warnings of Al Gores’ 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the massive dominos of global warming and climate change have started to fall.
Last year there were 12 weather events over $1 billion. This year we have 11. Two, Sandy and the nationwide drought, are costing our country tens of billions.
As predicted, the longer we delay in curbing our use of coal, oil, and gas, the more it costs to adapt and the more irreversible the problem becomes.
Driving these destructive weather events is the rapid disappearance of the 14-foot thick ice cap over the North Pole. We reached 350 ppm CO2 in our atmosphere 20 years ago which is the concentration where Earths’ ice begins to melt. The ice cap covering the Arctic Ocean has since been reduced to a third in size and is just three feet thick. In a few more years, it will be gone.
The sun’s energy has begun heating the open water instead of reflecting off ice, generating humidity, massive storms, and deadly droughts. The cooling effect of the U.S. and Mexico-sized Arctic ice has been replaced with warming waters and it’s destabilizing the planets’ atmosphere and ocean temperatures.
Hurricane Sandy grew into a thousand mile-wide monster over the five degree above normal temperature of the Atlantic. Abnormally warm air, not seen in 400,000 years, now flows from the Arctic Ocean over Greenlands’ ice sheet. Melting of this ice will swamp the sea walls now being planned and built by U.S. cities to deal with the current one foot global warming sea rise.
Every scientific institution in the world agrees with global warming science, including NASA, and the National Academy of Science established by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War to inform Congress on the critical complexities of science. In contrast, many fossil fuel hoaxes, meant to discredit climate science, have been foiled by the Supreme Court, National Science Foundation, and universities. Unfortunately, thousands of lobbyists continue to influence our government and public opinion is controlled by flooding the air waves with mind manipulating ads designed to ease our pollution fears.
The facts are: CO2 pollution increased 2.5 percent in 2011, fossil fuel corporations have 2,795 gigatons of reserves they intend to burn and asthma and allergies are increasing dramatically worldwide.
Earth’s atmospheric CO2 concentration is already at 393 ppm. Carbon 14 ratios in our air clearly mark this high ratio as fossil fuels, totally unnatural, and manmade. Ice cores from the polar regions show CO2 in a tight range from 180 to 280 ppm over the past 400,000 years. While the 180 ppm dips correspond with past Earth ice ages, the abnormally high 393 ppm concentrations of today, are triggering multiple catastrophic events ending life on Earth as we know it.
Mass extinctions are occurring around the globe. Hundreds of thousands of species have already disappeared forever. Many Arctic species, including the walrus and polar bear face certain extinction.
While we can adapt, hopefully survive, and end fossil fuel burning, our wildlife brothers and societies of primitive humans cannot. It is a moral imperative that each of us rise up to save the creation given to us for our lives.
All life, including those of our children deserves a healthy Earth to live on. The U.S. has 4 percent of Earth’s population, but burns 25 percent of the fossil fuels. Other nations are begging us to stop melting their mountain glaciers, drying up their rainforests, flooding their coasts and acidifying their oceans.
The loss of the critically important cooling ice as well as the oceans being heavily charged with dissolved CO2 means that global warming will come even faster now and will take much longer to reverse.
Fortunately, Germany and Japan are successfully working toward 100 percent clean energy by 2050. We can too. Many have committed to use clean energy and end fossil fuels by joining groups like 350.org, Fresh-energy.org, willstegerfoundation.org. Many find Dailyclimate.org a valuable news source. Together we can protect our health and stop the big polluters.
Neal Lesmeister is an exploration geologist.