So Trump has decided to cleave the U.S. from the Paris Climate Change Agreement crowd, putting us with unenviable neighbors of Syria and Nicaragua as fellow abstainers (Syria’s busy with all that civil war distraction, so I suppose we can forgive them for not caring about anything other than who’s going to cobble the place back together once the dust finally settles). The other separation event, of course, happening almost at the exact same time, is the ten percent ice shelf loss down on Larsen C, with its full frontal cleavage line really showing and growing these days. Eleven miles of expansion in just six days, and less than that to go before it’s fully separated, ready for the big venture out into the sea as one of the largest icebergs ever to be recorded. It’s epic proportions have been compared to those of Delaware, for Pete’s sake!
What can we say about these two seemingly unrelated events? First off, I’d like to offer that they’re not unrelated by any stretch. In fact, I would almost say that they go hand in hand. After all, if it weren’t for the anthropogenic activities of homo sapiens, we never would have needed a Paris Agreement to pull out of to begin with. At the same time, if it weren’t for the anthropogenic activities of homo sapiens, Larsen C probably wouldn’t be about to drop 2000 square miles of ice into the ocean. See how nicely that all fits together?
Meanwhile, we have such disparate scientific opinion with regard to how fast we’re going to bump up against circumstances that will spell doom and disaster for all of us. The truth is, nobody really knows. If they did, we wouldn’t have to keep hearing the now common phrase about how things are happening faster than expected, if they even expected such and such an event to happen in the first place.
We’ve learned so much about how the climate works on a global scale, and how intertwined it all is, how susceptible to change, even when slight perturbations in the atmosphere occur. What we do on a daily basis is anything but a slight perturbation. According to James Hansen, the granddaddy of climatologists, we pump the heat equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima bombs into our atmosphere every single day. Can you wrap your head around that? This is Hansen’s number, based on solid scientific data. This guy is a trailblazer. He’s no dummy, and this is his figure going back at least five years. In that same 2012 TED talk in which he threw out this number, he also issued many other dire warnings, none of which I doubt in the least. (By the way, he also justifiably tooted his own horn as a way to lend further credence to his words, reminding his audience that everything he and other scientists had predicted in an article going all the way back to 1981 had, in fact, come to pass, or was well underway). At the time, the ppm reading of CO2 was apparently sitting right around 391. Hansen said we needed to get it back down to around 350 ppm if we were to avoid the most serious climatic consequences. Where are we today? Steadily heading in the opposite direction, with current measurements suggesting an average closing in on 410 (although we’ve spiked above that already).
We’ve known about this CO2 acting as an atmospheric blanket stuff for well over a century and a half. Yet, here we are, way way down the road since this initial discovery, still spewing the stuff into our personal atmospheric cesspit as though it’s the most natural and uneventful thing we can do here on Little Blue.
As a totally unnatural segue into other clueless developments (take that literally), there’s rumor of plans to build a new 6 million square foot ‘shopping mecca’ (not my words) in south Florida, bumping right up next to The Everglades. If all goes as planned, the thing could be approved as early as this fall. Keep in mind that the Pentagon weighs in at 6.6 million square feet as you read this description:
…Developer Triple Five Worldwide Group of Edmonton, Canada, says this will be different, combining retail space with an indoor ski slope, a water park, a submarine ride attraction, a skating rink, 2,000 hotel rooms, theaters, a performing arts center, and places to eat and drink.
Oh, it’s good to be alive in America, if only for a little while longer. Meanwhile, God Bless our President as he continues down his modest, earnest, honest and well-metered path toward the train wreck that is almost certainly coming his way at some point in the first term (and probably in the first quarter of it). My bet is on impeachment, but if not that, then undoubtedly some other variety of debilitating debacle. When it happens, the world will have continued on with its diligent efforts toward reducing the effects of Climate Change, despite our inept leader’s best efforts to derail a most noble undertaking. The world will be hotter, more unstable, more crowded, less bio-diverse, and with our own existence more tenuous everyday. Those are the facts.
Meanwhile, first one to plant a flag on the new iceberg gets to own it for the duration.
Sincere thanks for stopping by!