There's a YouTube user Wonderingmind42that I have been following for some time now, and have posted his videos in thepast. He is a humble science teacher that puts Global Warming into perspectivein a way that a simple mind like mine can understand. After watching his videos,It's hard to comprehend comments which totally dismiss any type of concernregarding GW (Global Warming). Irespect other's comments and views, but often they are along the lines of "TheEarth has been warming and cooling forever and Al Gore uses more electricitythat anyone, and I'm driving my SUV, so there!!", without any realargument.
Watch this video (and a few of his others), even if you don't agree with him,they are entertaining to say the least.
If you think Al Gore is above Washington politics; if you think he is the most qualified Democrat; if you think he has both the judgment and experience to lead; if you think he is best able to reform our energy policy; if you want to change the world -- sign the petition. At least 167,630 people have done just that.
Now the Nobel Committee has done its part, awarding Gore the PeacePrize for being "probably the single individual who has done most tocreate greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to beadopted" to combat climate change, according to his citation. (TheUnited Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was also ajoint winner of the prize.) And so, after the obligatory spasms ofcelebration and the equally obligatory gnashing of Rush Limbaugh'steeth, will Americans finally get to enjoy one of the great spectaclesin political history, as Gore's ultimate honor levitates him beyond hisleading rival, Hillary Clinton, and into the Oval Office?
According to the Nobel web site, Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change were awarded the prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge aboutman-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measuresthat are needed to counteract such change."
So now to the big question: is Gore getting back into politics? Only time will tell. However, he is leaving his China trip earlier than expected so he can fly back to attend a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Climate change, extreme poverty, poor water treatment -- all signs of a growing water crisis:
Demand for water is doubling every 20 years, outpacing populationgrowth twice as fast. Currently 1.3 billion people don't have access toclean water and 2.5 billion lack proper sewage and sanitation. In lessthan 20 years, it is estimated that demand for fresh water will exceedthe world's supply by over 50 percent.
The biggest drain on ourwater sources is agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of thewater used worldwide -- much of which is subsidized in the industrialworld, providing little incentive for agribusiness to use conservationmeasures or less water-intensive crops.
This number is alsolikely to increase as we struggle to feed a growing world. Populationis expected to rise from 6 billion to 8 billion by 2050.
Insufficient water treatment may have been the reason for the cholera outbreak in Iraq, according to Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA).
Countries and businesses alike are making contingency plans for the next 30 years. Global warming is a serious problem -- whether it is natural, man-made or a little bit of both. With the sea level expected to rise significantly over the next generation, island nations raised concerns this week at the United Nations:
"The international community has convened numerous conferences andsummits at which it has agreed on wide-ranging plans and programs ofaction," Foreign Minister of the Maldives Abdalla Shahid, told the U.N.General Assembly. "However ... all too often the reality ofimplementation has failed to match the ambitious rhetoric."
Hewas speaking just days after the world body convened its first-everclimate summit which sought to put new urgency into global talks toreduce global-warming emissions.
We can talk and talk and talk until we are all blue in the face. Though, the reality is that island countries and coastlines all across the world will not be prepared until we get prepared. That means coming estimates on food rationing, disease control and methods to keep track and affect the flow of refugees away from the coastline.
On a personal note, next year I will likely start my graduate school career in the field of International Relations. Until just a few months ago, I was dead-set on pinpointing my studies on the issue of conflict management in the Middle East. But in all likelihood, the most urgent conflict management over the next 50 years will be needed in places such as Africa and Southeast Asia. Global warming will affect habitat -- leading to crop shortages, and in the end, starvation. Food shortages can often lead to wars. Wars lead to refugees. Refugee camps lead to the increased risk of disease. I am for the most part convinced that the number one challenge this century will come from the continent of Africa. To be quite blunt, the threat of global warming does not help.
Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 ???‚¬???and the entire population gone from Alaska ???‚¬??? because of thinning seaice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecastFriday.
Only in the northern Canadian Arctic islands and the westcoast of Greenland are any of the world's 16,000 polar bears expectedto survive through the end of the century, said the U.S. GeologicalSurvey, which is the scientific arm of the Interior Department.
USGSprojects that polar bears during the next half-century will disappearalong the north coasts of Alaska and Russia and lose 42 percent of theArctic range they need to live in during summer in the Polar Basin whenthey hunt and breed. A polar bear's life usually lasts about 30 years.
On Wednesday,a federal judge in San Francisco ordered that the Bush Administration release two reports on Global Warming after being sued to do so by environmentalists. The first report is a federal research plan, which is basically the guiding force in future research on climate change. This report was supposed to be released in 2006, but the Bush Administration refused to release the report. The second report is a national assessment which gives the latest research data and projected impacts on environment, economy and health. This report should have been released in 2004. (Just a quick note: This national assessment is supposed to be released every four years by the White House. To date, the Bush Administration has NEVER released such a report.) The Administration used the commonly-known "We know what's best for the country, and therefore have discretion over how and when (not to mention IF) these reports should be released. It didn't work.
"The defendants are wrong," Armstrong wrote in the 38-page ruling."Congress has conferred no discretion upon the defendants as to whenthey will issue revised Research Plans and National Assessments."
So the Judge has set deadlines for the research and national assessment plans to be released next year on March 1 and May 31 respectively. Time will tell if the White House actually releases any documents, but I predict an extension filing followed by another extension filing until January 2009. A question for the readers out there: Does it make anyone else giddy to hear the Bush Administration referred to as "the Defendants?" I sense that this might be a common name for Bush and his cabinet in the upcoming years.
This morning, there is yet another report out on the climate. Scientists found that temperature increases, impacted by greenhouse gases, will be offset over the next few years by a cooling trend in the eastern and southern portions of the Pacific Ocean. But once the weather pattern subsides, the next decade will break temperature records:
The climate projection, published Thursday in thejournal Science, suggests that a cooling trend in eastern and southernPacific ocean waters has kept a lid on warming in recent years.
And it will continue to do so, scientists say, but not for long.
Theprojection spans 2007 to 2017. "At least half of the years after 2009are predicted to be warmer than 1998, the warmest year currently onrecord," the researchers say in their report.
Globally,that means a typical year will be about half a degree warmer than inthe previous 10 years, a projection in line with findings this year bythe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel's report alsopredicts steadily rising temperatures.
Over the 10-year period as a whole, climate continues to warm and 2014 is likely to be 0.3 deg C warmer than 2004.
The effect that just a slight average temperature increase has on poor people is extremely significant because of what it does to crops, particularly in third world countries.
Late this week during a forum in Singapore, former vice president Al Gore exposed the active campaign by polluters to cloud these climate facts:
"There has been an organized campaign,financed to the tune of about $10 million (euro 7.2 million) a yearfrom some of the largest carbon polluters, to create the impressionthat there is disagreement in the scientific community," Gore said atforum in Singapore.
This comes even though the disagreement among scientists is almost non-existent. So where does some of this money go? Earlier this year, the American Enterprise Institute announced that it would pay scientists $10,000 to publicly deny that humans have had anything to do with the rise in CO2 and temperature. That is how desperate the other side is getting.
Meanwhile, the facts continue to speak for themselves.
The UN's authoritative voice on weather, climate and water, the WMO, released a report this week regarding the extreme weather occuring throughout every part of the world. The report noted that global land surface temperatures are likely warmer than at any time since 1880, when record keeping of that kind began. In January alone, the land temperature was 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit above the monthly average.
These numbers are significant because this means that the warming is not isolated to any specific part or parts of the world - there is a net increase in the total amount of heat throughout the world as a whole. And it is not a fluke:
IPCC further notes that there has been an increasing trend in the extreme events observed during the last 50 years, particularly heavy precipitation events, hot days, hot nights and heat waves.
Climate change projections indicate it to be very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent.
Here are some of the unusal weather events that the WMO noted from this year:
Cyclone Gonu, the first documented cyclone in the Arabian Sea, made landfall in Oman on 6 June with maximum sustained winds near 148 km/h. Gonu moved through the Persian Gulf making a second landfall in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Oman, the cyclone affected more than 20,000 people and was responsible for more than 50 fatalities.
Heavy rains during 6-10 June ravaged areas across southern China. Flooding affected over 13.5 million people with more than 120 fatalities due to floods and landslides.
In May a series of large swell waves (estimated at 3-4.5 meters) swamped some 68 islands in 16 atolls in the Maldives causing serious flooding and extensive damages.
Two extreme heat waves affected south-eastern Europe in June and July, breaking the previous records with temperatures exceeding 40 ?‚?°C. On 23 July, temperatures hit 45?‚?°C in Bulgaria, setting a new record.
In many European countries, April was the warmest ever recorded with the temperatures reaching more than 4?‚?°C over and above the long-term mean in some areas.
On 27 June a winter weather front moved across South Africa bringing the country???‚¬?„?s first significant snowfall since 1981 (25 cm of snow in parts of the country).
Alone, none of these events are cause for global concern, however together they form a global trend. The WMO is attempting to counter by gathering better and more information. Unfortunately, that doesnt actually solve the global climate crisis.
A scientific journal released a study that shows a significant climb in the severity of forest fires in recent years, which the researchers link to changes in the climate:
Forest fires in the Western United States have occurred morefrequently, burned longer, and covered more acres since 1987???‚¬???and globalwarming is a big part of the underlying cause???‚¬???according to a researchpaper published in July 2006 by the journal Science.
Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and theUniversity of Arizona found four times as many large wildfires occurredin Western forests between 1987 and 2003 compared to the previous 16years. The more recent fires burned 6.5 more land, the average durationof the fires increased from 7.8 to 37 days, and the overall fire seasonduring those years grew by an average of 78 days.
It will be fun to see what creative excuses the anti-science, pro-oil lobbyists will give to explain this new report. These are significant numbers here. The change in duration, as highlighted above, is more than a 350 percent increase. How can that happen? A British group released a similar study on forest fires late last week, which came to the same conclusion. Forest fires are especially bad because they release even more CO2 into the atmosphere. Carbon levels have never been this high in 650,000 years, according to another report.
The July heat wave in the Southwest really didn't help things. This week, South Carolina is dealing with similarly severe weather. Parts of Aiken County reached 110.