The Associated Press assigned a team to look through more than 1000 e-mails that were illegally hacked from a U.K. University server (something that the corporate media keeps overlooking: the hack was illegal, not the contents of the e-mails). What did the AP find? That the actual science surrounding climate change is very much real. Nothing was faked, nothing was doctored, no Grand Conspiracy exists. Which, in the fevered minds of denialists, means that the AP must be part of the Grand Conspiracy.
Why is it so important that the U.S. and other nations put aside their petty pride and commit to aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges? Because the further out in time the goals are set, the more expensive they will be to implement. Case in point:
The scientists said industrialized countries should reduce greenhouse gases from power plants, cars, and factories by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 rates by 2020 and called for much steeper reductions later. Developing countries, meanwhile, need to reduce emissions growth as well, the panel said.
Several analyses by climate research groups show that countries’ emission pledges now on the table in Copenhagen fall short of these goals, although those pledges could change.
President Obama’s pledge of reductions, which still needs backing from Congress, would bring the United States about 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
“The problem is if we don’t get far enough by 2020, you have to make such steep cuts later it is not realistic,’’ said Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a research and advocacy group based in Cambridge, Mass.
President Obama’s personal pledge, which doesn’t mean much in the face of denialist Cons and CorporateDems in the Senate, of 1-4% below 1990 levels by 2020 does not go far enough. It is that simple. We must, as a nation, be prepared to cut our emissions since we’ve put more of them in the atmosphere than any other country on this planet. It has everything to do with responsibilities, acknowledging them and doing something about them. Anything less than that 25-40% reduction condemns this planet to thousands of years of a harsh climate.
One under-discussed climate change issue is the acidification of the world’s oceans. NOAA’s administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, talked about this issue at a House hearing two weeks ago. Just like global temperatures and melting glaciers and rising seas and droughts, the rate at which the ocean is becoming more acidic is increasing faster than predicted just a few years ago. What’s causing the acidification? Increased levels of CO2 – CO2 is absorbed by the ocean from the atmosphere. The problem with CO2 in the oceans is it slows down the rate at which 1/3 of ocean-based animals can form their skeletal structures. Calcium carbonate in ocean water is necessary for these animals’ survival. Without skeletons, they die. Adding millions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, and then the ocean, dilutes the calcium carbonate available. The animals who depend on this process are at the bottom of the ocean ecosystem. Without them, larger, more complex life forms have no food and then they die off. Here’s the rub: increased acidification of the oceans has no other cause besides increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. I haven’t come across any climate change denialists try to explain this away yet – most likely because they haven’t been issued talking points from the Dirty Energy Industry yet. Like countless other myths they’ve successfully pushed, it won’t matter that they’re absolutely wrong on the facts. Lies are much easier to spread.
My 11Dec2009 summary is here.
My 10Dec2009 summary is here.
My 9Dec2009 summary is here.
My 7Dec2009 summary is here.
Cross-posted at SquareState.