Gore Redux

April 14, 2008 at 9:28 am | Posted in Economoney, Health, Movies, Nature, Science | Leave a comment

In Feb 2006, Al Gore gave a short follow-up to his famous film “An Inconvenient Truth” at the remarkable TED talks. (on Ideas) He briefly outlines what you can do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDiGYuQicpA (17′)
In his own words, he “used to be the next President of the United States of America” but has since changed professions.

2 years later, in Feb this year, in this obviously rushed and brand new presentation at TED, he focuses on the need for more than new lightbulbs. Some of the climate changes are accelerating faster than predicted and we need to take broader strokes faster. He observes how they made the climate an issue in the recent Australian elections (helped by a serious drought) and ratifying Kyoto* became one of the first actions of the new government. The only remaining Kyoto holdout is the US. Guess what they plan for this years elections.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUO8bdrXghs (29′)
This is the one to show people who have not see “An Inconvenient Truth”. A little rushed and he shows fewer consequences, but comparing Earth to Venus is interesting.

If you think this is just his opinion, he shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for his ‘new profession’. You have to keep in mind that there is a lot of noise out there trying to give the impression there is widespread scientific debate on the issue. Certainly, one can debate some “facts” as they are projections, like trying to predict the weather. But whats happening to our climate is undebatable and off the chart on any known historical cycles, going back many thousands of years. We need to do what we can to mitigate our contribution to the problem. At the very least, this will make our towns a cleaner, healthier place. And it does NOT have to cost a lot. Indeed, the cost of not acting is much greater. The longer we wait the harder it will be to improve.

The speed of change is shocking scientists. Evidently, the poles are warming much faster than further south, yet they can have a profound impact globally. Researchers barely needing an icebreaker in November, unlike the famous journey of the St Roch, still within some peoples lifetime.  Another example, the new skirmishes over the territory in Canada’s northern waters. Other countries are now trying to lay claim to what was once uninhabitable. Add in the consequences for wildlife.   (a slide show)

The importance of the Arctic ice cannot be underestimated. The seasonal patterns of the ice and water flow from the area drive the global ocean currents which in turn drive the weather. Historically, the last time the Arctic ice opened up this much, Europe had a mini ice age. Keep in mind that London is further north than Calgary in Canada. It is the northern flowing warm water that moderates their climate, driven by the southern flowing cool water off western Greenland.

The burgeoning green industry sector tells us going green is not going to destroy jobs. Its going to create them. But it does require change. Change for the better. Its only rigid thinking that considers that a bad thing.

David

*The Kyoto Accord is a very basic level of reduction in emissions the world actually was able to agree on, simply correcting to levels they previously were at in 1990, but a few countries were unwilling to ratify the agreement. The US is the last holdout, even after their own bad experiences with climate change, like Katrina. As a result of this, other countries are waiting or backsliding, like Canada.

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