Sorry to bum you out, but after reading “Earth may be near tipping point, scientists warn” I thought I should give you a heads up. Here are a few unnerving excerpts:
Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is making the ocean more acidic, and less hospitable to sea life. By midcentury, humans could have altered more than half the world’s land surface.
The swiftness of climate change is likely to outpace the ability of species to adapt, especially as natural habitat becomes more fragmented, Barnosky said.
All this could produce a biologically impoverished Earth that would rob humans of vital ecological services such as insects that pollinate crops, forests that provide clean water, and tropical species that are the source of new drugs. [...]
“This is what scientists saw in the ’60s and ’70s,” said Mikael Fortelius, a professor of evolutionary paleontology at the University of Helsinki in Finland and one of the paper’s authors. “We’ve never been quite sure when it would happen. We’re there now.” [...]
To avert a grim future, or at least make it less grim, the paper calls for significant reductions in world population growth and per-capita resource use, more efficient energy use, less reliance on fossil fuels and stepped-up efforts to protect the parts of Earth that have so far escaped human dominance.
Their solutions to make our future less grim seem obvious, yet most Republicans are staunch supporters of more oil drilling, including the potentially catastrophic Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline (scroll), and fracking (scroll). How idiotic does “Drill, baby, drill!” look after 22 researchers from a variety of fields– international scientists for goodness sake– are urgently warning of irreversible changes?
The L.A. Times’ Michael Muskal inadvertently answers that question in the following piece titled “May warmth helps shatter spring temperature records” in which he also explains the inexplicable: Why any Republican would deny climate change:
How meteorological cycles work play significant roles in the macro-economic world — in agriculture, in energy consumption and even in employers’ decisions on whether to hire more workers.
For example, the warmer period has caused dislocation in the fruit-growing season in the East. Some economists suggest that the milder winter allowed employers to hire workers sooner, making recent spring unemployment numbers look soft. And that, of course, has the potential to influence elections.
Now all that irrational denial can finally be deciphered: Self-destruction is acceptable because power grabs, politics, and profits take precedence over saving lives. Sound familar?