Friday, November 02, 2007

Falling Faster

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that climate change might happen too slowly for humanity to experience much conscious suffering because of it. The losses would be real, and enormous, but spread over several generations so that rosy stories of the old days would be dismissed as exaggeration or fairy tales.

Then Tim sent me an article about the arctic meltdown happening far faster than the climate models have predicted. That's an ironic twist. For years, the willfully ignorant would trot out old stories about early models overstating global warming predictions because they didn't account for clouds. Well, who knew? Errors can occur in more than one direction!

Sorry for my bitter sarcasm. I usually try to tone it down, but I'm past the point of patience.

My children have started bringing me news stories about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. James brought me this one, about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rising faster than expected. That could cause problems for the models, eh?

Wayne, at Niches, has been writing about drought in the southeast U.S., and when he looks at a period longer than just this year, he sees that they are in their worst drought in 100 years. In his October 26th post, he has a whole round-up of news about things worsening faster than expected.

And today, I hear that the the domino effect is underway in the Canadian boreal forest. It used to be counted as a carbon sink, with tree growth removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Climate change was supposed to make it an even better sink, by accelerating tree growth. Instead, with less snow and hotter summers, there are more forest fires, so the forest has become a carbon source.

I guess it's encouraging that my kids are bringing up the subject now.

I'll feel better when they start suggesting that we walk.

2 comments:

SimplyTim said...

Laura,

It's such a mess isn't it?

There is an interesting article on the oil drum titled: Peak Oil: Believe it or Not." (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3178)

The author presents material from psychology and looks at perception, decision making, beliefs, etc.

It's long, but it gives some practical ways of understanding how so many people just don't get it. And then when we are manipulated by the big forces, you can see how it all keeps getting swept under the rug.

Stay well, my friend.

Tim

arcolaura said...

Tim - I am enjoying the article. Definitely worth reading, and draws a chuckle now and then, too. Will try to finish it after the arctic meltdown one, and the Enneagram books, and . . . or maybe sooner.