300 reasons I would vote for used gym socks if it would keep John McCain out of office

June 25, 2008

Reason #84

Filed under: The Environment — 300reasons @ 1:30 am

I came across this scary as all get-out article about global warming by Dr. James Hansen in the Huffington Post today. According to Dr. Hansen:

What is at stake? Warming so far, about two degrees Fahrenheit over land areas, seems almost innocuous, being less than day-to-day weather fluctuations. But more warming is already “in the pipeline,” delayed only by the great inertia of the world ocean. And climate is nearing dangerous tipping points. Elements of a “perfect storm,” a global cataclysm, are assembled.

Climate can reach points such that amplifying feedbacks spur large rapid changes. Arctic sea ice is a current example. Global warming initiated sea ice melt, exposing darker ocean that absorbs more sunlight, melting more ice. As a result, without any additional greenhouse gases, the Arctic soon will be ice-free in the summer.

More ominous tipping points loom. West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are vulnerable to even small additional warming. These two-mile-thick behemoths respond slowly at first, but if disintegration gets well under way, it will become unstoppable. Debate among scientists is only about how much sea level would rise by a given date. In my opinion, if emissions follow a business-as-usual scenario, sea level rise of at least two meters is likely within a century. Hundreds of millions of people would become refugees, and no stable shoreline would be reestablished in any time frame that humanity can conceive.

Animal and plant species are already being stressed by climate change. Species can migrate in response to movement of their climatic zone, but some species in polar and alpine regions will be pushed off the planet. As climate zones move farther and faster, climate change will become the primary cause of species extinction. The tipping point for life on the planet will occur when so many interdependent species are lost that ecosystems collapse.

Whatever McCain might say, he is entirely in the pocket of big oil companies, and his attempts to deal with global warming, if he even makes them, will almost certainly be less ambitious than what Obama will undertake. We simply can’t spare four years. We have already passed the point where disaster could have been averted. The only question now is how big that disaster will be. How many refugees will there be? How many species will become extinct? Those numbers will be much higher if we elect John McCain.

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