The solution will not be televised…
With 36.1% of the civilian labor force unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy in neutral since 2007, and the national debt threatening to swallow us all in a spiraling vortex of compound interest, do we really need to talk about global warming right now? That depends on whether we want life to exist on this planet’s surface in 100 years.
The Permian mass extinction 250 million years ago was caused by major volcanic activity that killed over 95% of all living species due to a runaway greenhouse effect marked by a 6 degrees Celsius rise in average temperature on Earth’s surface. Only one species of large land animal was left alive. By contrast, a 0.74 degrees Celsius increase has already happened in the 20th century, with a further 1.5 to 1.9 degrees warming inevitable in the 21st century (it takes a while for CO2 to dissipate) and 3.4 to 6.1 degrees warming possible if our combustion and deforestation habits continue unchecked.
Right now, global warming is being mitigated by the oceans, which are absorbing tons of carbon dioxide, becoming warmer, more acidic, and increasingly de-oxygenated. Do you like shellfish? Enjoy them now, because they will be extinct, possibly within your lifetime, without a major reduction in CO2 levels, which has made the ocean 30% more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. 85% of the world’s oyster reefs have already been lost.
The Kyoto Protocol, which has been ratified by 192 countries, including everyone except the United States, calls for a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 level. Instead, emissions are growing at a faster rate than ever, reaching 30.6 Gigatonnes (billion metric tons) in 2010, up 5.5% from the previous year. The 11 hottest years on record occurred in the last 12 years. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting faster than predicted. At the current rate they will be completely gone in 30-40 years.
Global food production is expected to fall by 20% to 40% as the countries that make up 2/3 of the world’s food output continue to suffer years and even decades of drought conditions. China is suffering the worst drought conditions in 50 years, Australia the worst in 117 years, California the worst on record, Texas the worst in 90 years, Argentina in 50 years, Uruguay in decades. By 2025 Africa will be unable to feed 75% of its people.
What’s stopping us from ending the CO2 industry? Selfishness, laziness, and a catatonic stasis brought about by TV and climate control. We buy the gasoline, natural gas, and coal fired electricity because it’s cheap and provides instant gratification. The money we spend fuels misinformation campaigns from the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. The voters get bad intelligence. The Tea Party gets elected to stop the government from shifting our energy supply away from CO2 emission. It’s our own fault.
What can we do? Go rogue. If we cultivate our own gardens, corporate farms won’t pollute our air with carbon dioxide and methane. If we fix our own bicycles, oil tankers and cargo containers will not smog our atmosphere by land or by sea. When the demand for oil goes down, the price will go down, and the profits will go down, too. Eventually there will no longer be hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into Washington, lobbying to keep the environment defenseless for the pillaging.
Being right about global warming is a moot point if we’re all dead. Let’s make a world where catastrophic climate change is not real. Let’s plant trees, and keep the thermostat low this winter. Let’s give each other homemade presents instead of shiny plastic shipped from China. When the politicians talk about freedom, let’s exercise that freedom and turn off the TV. Every country has the government it deserves. If our government sucks, let’s deserve a better one.