Thursday, July 22, 2010

So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish

From The NYT Economic Scene:
According to NASA, 2010 is on course to be the planet’s hottest year since records started in 1880. The current top 10, in descending order, are: 2005, 2007, 2009, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2004, 2001 and 2008.
So we're getting right on that, right? Right? I mean, think about the farmers!
The intense heat and humidity that blanketed central Kansas since late last week have killed more than 2,000 cattle and one state official called the heat-related losses the worst in his 17 years on the job.
And our descendants...
The average temperature of the planet for the next several thousand years will be determined this century—by those of us living today, according to a new National Research Council report which lays out the impact of every degree of warming on outcomes ranging from sea-level rise to reduced crop yields.
With La Nina setting in, the mid-term outlook may not be as bad as the last few months,
"This year the fact that the El Nino episode has ended and is likely to transition into La Nina, which has a cooling influence on the global average temperature, it's possible that we will not end up with the warmest year as a whole."
but notice the provisional in there: it's possible this won't be the warmest year since the advent of meteorological instrumentation. Last Friday, Dr. Jeff Masters posted one on the most terrifying things I've read in a while:
June 2010 was the warmest June since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated June 2010 the third warmest June on record, behind June 1998 and June 2009. Both NOAA and NASA rated the year-to-date period, January - June, as the warmest such period on record. June 2010 global ocean temperatures were the fourth warmest on record, while land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 2nd warmest on record in June, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) groups. The record warmest temperatures in the lower atmosphere were recorded in 1998.
And of course it's not just the US: people and crops are being affected across the globe.
MOSCOW — A blistering heat wave has made life miserable for millions in Russia and northeastern Europe, few of whom have air conditioners, and destroyed millions of acres of Russian wheat, setting back an agricultural revival that was just reaching its stride after years of faltering efforts.
So with every single one of the ten hottest years on record falling in the last 11 years, (not counting 2010- the numbers aren't in yet, but it's very likely to fall in that ranking, even if it doesn't take first place) can we move along and address the issue? Not. Freaking. Likely.
Senate Democrats had already scaled back their plans to pursue limits on greenhouse gas emissions, like those in a bill approved by the House last year. Instead, Senate Democrats had said they would seek a cap on carbon emissions only for power plants. But even that proved overly ambitious.
“We don’t have a single Republican to work with us,” Mr. Reid said. Nice play, Senator, and I agree: the blindness of the right is stunning. But even the dems don't seem to understand that corporate profits amount to just about nothing when our food and water supplies collapse. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I have serious doubts that humanity has the intelligence, and ability to sacrifice self interest for the broader good, that it's going to take to get through this crisis. Extinction is forever, and our glorious brains and "special" relationship with the wizard in the sky don't make us immune. I'm glad I won't be the parent of one of the last generation of children, trying to explain how a few hundred lawmakers put their election prospects ahead of human survival.

If we don't make it, it will be because we don't deserve survival.


Dr. MVM said...

Humanity, it was fun for some while it lasted. And the earth was better off without it.

Lockwood said...

No doubt.