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Global Warming Still Accelerating

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The headline bleakly states "Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf eroding at an unforeseen pace." It is a magnified echo of scientific reports over the last five years - it's all happening too fast. The change is not just happening too fast, it is happening faster and faster.

For the past decade we were told "don't worry." We were told that we were in for a long, slow warming of the planet. We were told 2150. Then, a couple of years ago that date dropped to 2057; then 2020. In less than ten years, we have lost130 years. Or perhaps, the acceleration as sped us up 130 years - or less. "Unforeseen pace" - a statement to raise the hair on the back of your neck. What exactly are we rushing into? I am not sure that anyone can even come close to answering that at this point. We are in new terrain.

As I have read reports and articles; watched the news and the seasons around me, the image of a locomotive speeding down a steep mountain comes to mind. With the throttle open to full, and the firebox be stuffed to burn white hot, the train goes faster an faster. At some point, even if the engine is no longer stoked and the engine is thrown into neutral, that train will continue to accelerate just by its mass and momentum.

At the bottom of the mountain is a steep, narrow, valley. Sitting in the engine, I know that when we hit that bottom we won't just start up the next slope. I fear that we will hit the bottom of that slope running at unimaginable speed and it will drive us into the ground. The mass of the train cars behind us piling one into another.

Meanwhile, the ads from the energy companies, and from the automotive companies, tell us they are "going green." The cheerleaders trumpet renewable energy and "new" technologies. The activists push the "sustainability" movement. The underlying message is alluring and a lie - we can continue on the path we are on. We can continue to grow, to consume voraciously, to exploit the planet and our fellows. We can do all that, bit we can do it in a "green" and "sustainable" way.

How anyone who thinks for 30 seconds on this situation and still finds solace in the mantra of "it's OK," baffles me. I mean totally dumbfounds me. We are so far past sustainable, that a sustainability movement would require a decrease of "footprint" of magnitudes. One of the scientists participating with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a couple of years ago that we would need to immediately decrease carbon emissions by 80% to have any effect on global warming. Folks, a reduction of that scale means a pre-industrial level of carbon emissions. Instead, we have continued to grow our carbon footprint - as a nation and as a world. Open throttle down the mountain.

The Sundarbans in the Ganges Delta are being inundated from the rising ocean. The lands are fertile, but also populated by cultures. India is seeing a growing refugee crisis as the island peoples are displaced.

Lying one-third in India and two-thirds in Bangladesh, the Sundarbans are where two of Asia's biggest rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, broaden and violently roll into the Bay of Bengal. The source of the problem is 1,500 miles away, at the source of the Ganges, where melting Himalayan glaciers are raising river and sea levels.

Lohachara island, once visible from Ghoramara, a mile to the east, is already gone beneath the waves, succumbing to the ocean two years ago, leaving more than 7,000 people homeless. Ghoramara itself has lost a third of its land mass in the past five years. To the north, Sagar island already houses 20,000 refugees from the tides.


So what is being presented to us as the direction for the future?

"Ice Shrink In Arctic Sea May Attract Oil Firms."

"Polar Cities a Haven in Warming World?"

Translation? More fossil fuels for burning, another earth region to exploit and populate. Never mind that fossil fuels are accelerating global warming. Never mind, that the arctic (and Antarctic) are among the most fragile environments on the planet.

Don't question the story, and don't question the path. Full steam ahead. Even the darkest cloud has a silver lining.

I am at a loss on how to counter this kind of thinking. Your ideas are more than welcome.

 

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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.


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