Saturday, August 4, 2012

Send a Message about Global Warming

Don’t sit on this because too much is at stake for your grandchildren and mine!
by Charlie Leck

In all the time I’ve been blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever asked my readers to send a vital and important message, via email, to all their friends and contacts. This morning I am asking just that. I think everyone should read the column by James E. Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies about global warming.

For too long we’ve allowed the arguments against the dangerous warming of our planet by unqualified fellows like Rush Limbaugh to influence the majority of our nation’s citizens. Limbaugh is an uninformed rube [i] when it comes to matters so important as the survival of the human race. Somehow we’ve got to get people to take seriously the much more informed scientists of our nation.

“When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988, I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.
“But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.
“My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.” [James E. Hansen]

Hansen says that it is not good enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather; it has! He says “there is virtually no other explanation!” He points to examples in America and around the world that indicate our climate has changed.

I can see being willing to gamble on a lot of things and I do all the time; however, to gamble with such possibilities as the warming of the planet on which we are blessed to live is a preposterous game of chance. For, if I am wrong, at the age of 71, it will have no consequence for me personally; but I have little ones who romp out there in Oregon and in the Chicago area who are going to grow up and establish their own independent lives on this very planet also. I have a responsibility to them not to allow us to gamble on a bet suggested by one as pompous [ii] and self-absorbed as Rush Limbaugh. The chances are 100 to 1 that Limbaugh is wrong, wrong, wrong!

For God’s sake (and I mean that), who would you rather listen to on a matter of such magnitude – an entertainer and buffoon [iii] like Limbaugh, or a man of science like James Hansen?

Hansen argues that the weather patterns we are seeing today are NOT changes that result from the natural variability of day-to-day weather. He reminds us that we will still see some occasionally cooler than normal summers and some extremely cold winters, but we mustn’t allow such events to fool us.

Significant and peer-reviewed studies show that “the extremes are actually becoming much more frequent and more intense worldwide.”

Such extremes “will become even more frequent and more severe.”

Our only hope is that (Hansen assures us) “there is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious[iv] time.”

Honest to God! Honest to God!

[i] Rube: an unsophisticated person from a rural area; hick. A male given name, form of Reuben. “The bigotry has softened somewhat, but nobody wants to be considered a rube.”

[ii] Pompous: characterized by an ostentatious display of dignity or importance (a pompous minor official). Inflated, Pretentious, Turgid, Bombastic. “Limbaugh is a pompous, ignorant bastard who gambles with my grandchildren’s lives.”

[iii] Buffoon: a person who amuses others by tricks, jokes, odd gestures and postures, etc.. Jester. Clown. Fool. Boor.
Compare to buffa puff of breath, buffare to puff, puff up one’s cheeks. Buffoonery. Buffoonish. “I’m sure you must realize that Limbaugh is a buffoon.”

[iv] Precious: Very valuable or costly (a precious child; a precious fool). Valuable, Costly. “If you could spend but a moment with this grandchild of mine you would understand just how precious all grandchildren can be!”

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  1. My friends and contacts need no prodding- they already believe. As long as the subject is not politically correct, Washington will be content to let us roast. Ask Al Gore where it got him. We need a champion but he or she is not on the horizon so far.

  2. Rich:

    I am not normally disposed to comment against our undoubted abuse of this small blue thing that we all live on, but I am extremely suspicious of this particular debate. Global warming (note how this has morphed into Climate Change) has become big business with thousands of people around the world making money from it. Not just climatologists but traders in carbon gas, inventors of electric cars et. & so forth. I sometimes get the feeling that we have now invested so much in this subject that it had better be true or a whole bunch of people are going to have no jobs - with all the consequences that that brings.

    As you know I dabbled in archaeology for a while and during that time I was struck by a graph in a book edited by Chris Scarre called The Human Past. The graph, based on ice core samples, shows that this cosy period we have called the Holocene began, suddenly, about 9600 BC and, if anything, has COOLED somewhat over time. Prior to that, apart from a spike between 12700 & 10800 BC it was chuffing cold for about 800,000 years - land temperatures on average 36' F lower than today and the TROPICAL seas down 4' - 9' F. Europe & America were covered in ice 2.5 miles thick. I am quite sure that if the weather decides to get cold, it will and what is more history suggests that probability is high. How mankind will cope with that I do not know. I imagine that the Africans will become suddenly popular....

    Even today with the help of the odd Kray computer (no doubt) the UK Met office seems woefully inept. Famously failing in the 1980's to spot a large hurricane. I don't think we know what is happening to the weather or, more importantly, why. We have latched on to Carbon emissions because we know CO2 is inviolved somewhere along the line but I'm not sure anyone has shown it to be a leading or lagging indicator which is, of course, quite important.

    Given the planet's propensity to attempt to freeze our nuts off, it is, paradoxically, possible that a bit of warming up might forestall the inevitable return of the ice. And I fear it is inevitable.

    As I understand it the causes of CO2 emission, in descending order are:


    Every time I take my car out I try to kill as many insects as possible, and judging by the reduced number on my screen since the 1970's this seems to be working.

    A lot of Ocean derived CO2 comes from fish farting. I note that over fishing in many parts of the world is addressing this problem.

    It is clear in every direction that I look that we are consuming the world in which we live faster and faster. I suspect that this is an inevitabkle consequence of the evolution of a dominant intelligent (and I use the word advisedly!) species on any world. I have often thought that the reason we don't find intelligent life out in space is because it is a fleeting thing on any world. It dies out because it consumes its environment before it can learn to fly off to a new one.

    I applaud your concern for future generations and endorse it but.... I rather suspect that attempting to reduce our small contribution to the worlds greenhouse gases is pissing in the wind and possibly on the wrong fire.

    I have done no serious research in this area so I may be talking bollocks (not for the first or last time I am sure). I am very suspicious about this topic and I am also convinced that weather men of all ilks are not very good at what they do.