Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Global warming means climate change

Personally I doubt someone like Marco Rubio (or his ilk) gets it why, when he says the age of the earth is up for debate, he is put on a persona non gratis list for future government leadership by anyone who takes science seriously.  This is not about whether there is a creator or there is not. It's about something science has data to prove-- the age of the earth. For someone who still considers creationism equal to evolution for potential to be right,  (whether it is said out of ignorance or pandering) that person should not be taken seriously as a national leader. There is a reason for this and why it matters-- global warming.

Having written on the subject of global warming several times in this blog, what is being said about it hasn't changed much-- if you read scientists who are not paid to give the answer someone wishes. Basically it is called global climate change now because too many humans couldn't get their heads around how the earth growing some degrees warmer would actually make some regions colder. The earth is getting steadily warmer; but when we talk of weather, it's about possible ice ages (from 2003) as well as super storms. When ocean currents change, what does that do to the world's climate? Can you see the connection?

If you read no other links from this piece, please check out the following. It's lengthy and the story of one man's investigations into what was happening and where might it lead. Was he an alarmist or trying to get attention by telling humans what's coming whether sooner or a bit delayed? What should we be preparing to do? This is one opinion from 2007 (not when he began speaking or writing on this but date of this interview).

At one time Lovelock believed the earth would balance itself, but it's looking less as though it can when man is doing little to help it happen. The release of methane in the Arctic might contribute to why this thing is badly out of control. Some think we can do nothing but are they the same ones worried more about dollar cost than scientific research?.

For me caring about this and believing it's happening is not new. Here are a few of the pieces I have written on the subject, all with links most of which still work and are worth following.

When you do research, a lot of the articles talk on what is likely to be seen with a few degrees of increase. Then there was this-- what if it's more and comes faster? There is plenty of evidence that the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is unprecedented for anybody who believes in science. Yes, scientists can now check such things through old ice and rocks.

Basically the earth is warming and humans are unlikely to be able to totally stop it. Can we though slow it or delay it? Some still don't believe it will happen, think their god will fix it, or claim since it costs money and inconveniences us, why do anything?

They are the same ones, of course, who wouldn't value anything listed above. They think dollars will fix any problem. Likely they believe they can move to some new country where the weather is better-- but can they? Will they find they are trapped in the world they created and die along with the poorest of poor?

I am not sure why some desire to amass wealth in things. They appear to think $1 billion + dollars is necessary but what they can do with it to improve their lifestyle that they could not with say $100 million? Isn't there a point where those dollars accrue to no avail and where the damage they have done to the earth, which is of value beyond paper or gold, isn't worth it? Evidently not yet for the ones still paying for environmental studies that will let them keep on abusing and avoiding real choices that might change this.

Listening to a speaker on NPR the other week-end, he said we could still change things on the East Coast of the US by reducing our emissions. According to most experts, it will not stop it, but it would slow it. What many experts are suggesting is we do what we can but we also prepare for the change. Are we? Anywhere? If the oceans rise will dikes be enough to save major cities like New York City? There are places where a lot of people currently live that are likely to become uninhabitable.

The latest super storm should convince those of us who can do math to change our view of at the least shorelines. Shouldn't it? The houses built on the shore in New Jersey should not be rebuilt there. I know humans like to think we can fix anything with money but once again, we cannot-- not when it's a big earth shift.

Facts and figures and we all agree-- right?

Except they don't because for all the major scientists predicting this kind of thing, there is a rightie claiming it's all communism and there is a paid fossil fuel corporate scientist who says it isn't happening or if it is, it's not man's fault. For those who think that way, it requires ignoring the climate changes they are seeing, the horrible tornadoes of 2011, the super storm of 2012, the melting ice caps, the change in the Arctic because they confuse climate and weather. Since it seems colder to them today, global warming can't be happening.

The end result is a resistance to government doing anything and they aren't considering possible changes for their own lives if this thing does get worse. Such people like the Rush Limbaugh faction claim it's Henny Penny running around crying the sky is falling and they forget the story of the grasshopper and the ant. Of course, a lot of them have been stockpiling wealth because everybody knows dollars/euros/gold can protect them from anything, right?

Well it cannot and whether the direr predictions of Lovelock come to pass, this earth has been in a balance. It will crave balance and won't let us vote on how that happens.

To have the Republican party put people at the head of Congressional science committees who believe the earth is 9000 years old, who believe God can fix anything, who think more trees should be cut down since they use oxygen, who don't believe in science basically at all, says they are currently the party of yahoos; and if they want to change that, they need to find new candidates to run for office. right now they get the title of science deniers and dollar valuers-- while they call themselves the values party.

So what do I think we, who do take science seriously, can or should do? One thing is be prepared ourselves to see disruptions in food supplies. Commonsense just says that regardless of whether a major disaster is imminent.

Then support new technologies. If you aren't in the field, you have no idea how many ideas are out there. The latest I heard about was getting water from air (assuming the air has it in it, of course)-- NDB Nano. The advances in solar and wind are impressive with better batteries to store the energy.

We use solar for the electric fence on our leased cattle property.  Some of these new green technologies won't work in the long run but others will and it takes support to get them off the ground.

Too often such ideas were bought up in the past by oil corporations who didn't want competition. The innovators need to hold out and think of the long range, not their short range gain. Same with keeping the companies in this country instead of the temptation of sending them off to other nations with $.50 an hour labor. We have to as a people care about more than ourselves and think of the future generations.

Once a super storm is on its way, there's not much we can do except get somewhere safe, if possible, and accept that maybe where we live isn't going to be safe in the future. What do we as a world do when that's whole nations? Do we really care about our brother or is it all us? The days ahead may cause many of us to have to seriously consider our own answer to that question.

What can we do other than put our collective heads in the sand? 

Be sure we are living somewhere that has a maximum possibility of surviving big changes.
Redesign and build homes that can survive tornadoes if that's where we live. If not your whole home, make sure you have a well-designed storm shelter.
Learn hunter gatherer skills.
Practice container gardening and buy heirloom seeds that can be saved and used the following year.
Be flexible and alert to what's around us. 
Always look up, down, around, and listen.
Learn the earth's patterns where you live.
Stockpile a rotating food supply
Owning basic tools would not only be good but valuable for barter if things truly turned bad-- they are good for now even if they don't.
Favor government support for research into green technologies.
Minimize our own carbon footprint without a law forcing us to do so.
 And finally for anybody who does believe in science, they absolutely cannot ever vote for somebody who says something like this-- Marco Rubio has no idea of age of the earth. That person cannot figure out how to deal with what is coming because they give equal weight to a theological interpretation of the Bible and what science can determine with technology. I think people can believe in a creator and still believe in science; but they cannot question the age of this earth and consider it equally possible it's a few thousand years old. You might consider that a partisan statement but it doesn't have to be if Republicans stop catering to ignorance and creating heroes out of religious leaders who have turned into political ones.


Taradharma said...

we have solar power here at home. we recycle. i don't know of many anymore who don't, but I'm in California, you know, lala land.

i'm amazed that people are 'shocked' about the super storms and other evidence of climate change. The scientists have been warning of this for decades. But par for the course, we human don't hear a thing until the jet engine is smack up against our ears.

Ingineer66 said...

The American Society of Civil Engineers has been advocating a moveable sea barrier for New York City since the late 1970's. The politicians just don't like spending money on infrastructure when they can spend the money on handing out freebies to the voters. If you build a $3billion sea wall and it stops the great flood, nobody notices. They just go on with their lives like nothing happened. Now that we have thousands of people still without power or a decent place to sleep, maybe they will get with the program.

Ingineer66 said...

Before the planet gets too bad, I believe one or both of the following will happen: One the CO2 levels will rise increasing plant life in the oceans and a massive bloom of algae will suck up the excess CO2 and then die and sink to the bottom of the ocean.

And/or we will run out of fossil fuels that release carbon into the atmosphere and the doomsday, control everyone else's lives crowd will have to find something else to complain about.

Rain Trueax said...

You'd think we would get it after New Orleans. But infrastructure is not high on anybody's list hence all the bridges that are just waiting to have the right combination of events before they collapse. Infrastructure would be a good way to get jobs also.

Rain Trueax said...

Your concern that your life will be controlled appears to be less when it's somebody else's like say abortion rights, birth control or gay marriage. Guess it's all in whose ox gets gored? *s*

Regarding wise use of resources, I wouldn't think we should need laws. It seems like it'd be a conservative principle if the conservatives still existed. We should use commonsense ourselves-- and wanting autos that get better gas mileage seems better for everybody but the oil companies who have blocked meaningful regulations. Pollution in the skies is another of those issues that you'd think we'd all want until we are told somehow it limits our freedoms to do something about it.

Ingineer66 said...

I believe my views on all three of those topics are the same as yours so not sure what you mean there.
Conservatives are not against high mileage vehicles or for pollution. But we believe the mileage issue should be driven by the market.
As for government control we will see what California's green house law does to reduce warming and also kill out state economy. We already have some of the highest electricity and gas prices on the nation and now we just voted to increase our sales tax and make our income tax the highest in the nation. And starting this month we will begin to see the effects of the carbon credit trading on electricity prices especially for high volume users like schools and hospitals.
Also starting in January gas prices are expected to go up between $0.26 to $1.61 a gallon because of this law.

This is just one of many new business killing regulations we have here.

Rain Trueax said...

but do you vote based on your beliefs or just say it and then try to elect someone who would do the opposite? As for California's regs, there is a problem there with pollution because of the large populations and atmosphere. I don't know if it will hurt business but suspect other factors will be more important... and your price on gas is already pretty high :) thinking we should head south through Nevada but it's not all that cheap either.

The reason competition didn't cause mileage to improve is the corporations all were of a mind. You buy what you can get. Now there are more options but nobody forces someone to get a vehicle that gets great mileage. There are plenty of gas guzzlers out there (I know cuz we drive a Silverado due to need for farm use but it is diesel for which we pay a high price of often 50 cents a gallon more but it does get better mileage ;)

joared said...

A lot of really good info in your post, Rain. So much of Calif. can benefit from solar energy -- becomes cost effective in residences that use a specified amount -- if electric bill is $130 or more a month.

Our community is trying to conserve water, but, interestingly, our private water company presses us to limit water use, but they want to make the same profit they did when we used more water, so they raise our rates to do so and get away with it. Lots of resistance and organized efforts to alter this, including our city is trying to buy our water rights.

As for gasoline, Californians expect to have more expensive gas, especially through the summer, because there are so many different blends that have to be made which has made a truly significant decrease in smog and pollutants in the air in the almost forty years since we moved here. Whether or not the oil companies have to charge higher rates to the degree they do is questioned by some. The most recent extremely high rates we had are being investigated to determine whether or not manipulation may have occurred, just as Enron did years ago with electricity when they ripped off Calif. with such tactics.

I'm generally pleased with how California citizens support some innovative efforts to address environmental issues, and other matters, that often become adopted in other States, once they're proven beneficial. I think it's good that we have those whose view of what is best for Californians differs from what may ultimately be undertaken, since they can often provide serious issues we need to consider -- some of which may result in altering what is finally done.

New York isn't the only place that needs to face problems with rising sea levels. All our coastal areas need to consider that, including California. Seems to me money shouldn't be expended trying to re-shore these places, people re-building, but I've thought the same in areas that have been repeatedly flooded by rivers, or destroyed by fires. I don't know what it takes for people to decide it's time to move.

Our State economy is the 8th or 9th largest one in the world the last time I checked, but we've certainly had our share of the recession's problems. If Europe tanks, or Congress doesn't stop "kicking the can down the road" and instead acts on renewing these Bush tax rates for all but 2% by the end of this year -- we don't prevent the raping of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- so our nation doesn't make the same mistakes as Great Britain and other European nations did with draconian cuts -- California would certainly reap the consequences from such mis-guided policy.

Rain Trueax said...

Good additions, Joared-- of course, I'd think that way :)