Diary of a
Dying Planet


"Killer heat waves. Melting glaciers. Floods that strand millions of refugees. Global warming is not some futuristic doomsday. It's already here - and the death toll is rising."

Once again, Rolling Stone magazine is at the forefront of the newsstand taking a serious look, this time at the environment, as the majority of the media spends its time taking pot shots at the movie The Day After Tomorrow and the government does its usual spin categorically dismissing the impact of the hole in the ozone layer, the contribution that its rollback of emission and mileage controls on SUVs and other vehicles might have, and on and on while pursing a course to dig up what little oil is left in the Alaska wilderness. The Environmental Protection Agency included no mention of global warming in its 2002 air-quality report, the first time that's happened since 1996. And the censorship continues. The White House made wholesale revisions to the climate-change chapter of the EPA's "Report on the Environment", playing down human influence, deleting references to the health impacts of global warming and inserting climate data funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute. But, after all, the Commerce Department which monitors climate change is headed by Secretary Don Evans, a former oil and gas executive. And Senator James Inhofem, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, dismisses global warming as a "hoax."

The mass media has pretty much followed suit. After all, do you remember hearing much about the 10 day heat wave that hit Europe a year-ago killing 15,000 French and another 15,000 in Europe at large.

"Global warming. It doesn't just make the world hotter - it makes the weather more extreme. Droughts are longer, torrents heavier, flooding more severe. Heat waves are turned up to eleven."  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations scientific organization that is literally the world authority on global warming forecast in 2001 that Earth would soon see "higher maximum temperatures, more hot days and heat waves." It only took two years until Europe was hit by Extreme Summer 2003. The weather has become a WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction causing more death and destruction that any of our little wars.)

"Nineteen of the twenty hottest years on record have occurred since 1980, with 2003 the third-hottest year ever. The warming projected by the IPCC for this century - between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees - is unprecedented in the last 10,000 years.

"Some would write off the French heat wave as a tragic blip. Ditto that 2003 was the hottest European summer in 500 years. Ditto that it came so quickly after extreme floods soaked the continent in 2002, forcing the evacuation of 50,000 in Prague. But these are hardly the only blips. In March, Brazil was hit by its first ever hurricane. Last June, a heat wave scorched India with twenty-seven consecutive days of 120 degree temperatures, killing nearly 2,000. Flooding in China that used to hit once every twenty years now recurs almost annually; a deluge last August left 4 million homeless. The American West is suffering years of record drought, and last May, 562 tornadoes struck the Midwest - 163 more than the previous monthly record. A retractable barrier built to protect London from floods was expected to be used once every three years. In 2000, it was used twenty-four times. The glaciers are retreating worldwide with Kilimanjaro expected to disappear within the next 15 years. Glacier National Park in Montana will be glacier free by 2030. In Alaska, where temperatures have soared four degrees in the last fifty years, the state's permafrost is thawing. Oil pipelines are sinking in the softened earth, polar bears are starving, and 2 million acres of spruce have been lost to bark beetles, thriving in the lovely man-made weather. At the South Pole, a mass of ice the size of the island of Hawaii has broken away from the Larsen Ice Shelf. Over 500 billion tons of ice broke off the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica in a single month.

What's the future look like? Not too good. Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman joined forces last year to introduce a measure that would have capped carbon emissions well below the Kyoto levels and allowed industries to trade pollution rights. The White House opposed the plan claiming it would cost $106 billion to implement - even though the EPA put the price tag at only $2 billion. The bill lost by twelve votes."

Get a copy of this issue and read the entire article. As John McCain warned, "Every day there is no action on this issue, the more serious the consequences will be."

Source: Rolling Stone, June 10-, 2004

Related Topics:  Ecology

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