Mitigate, Adjust, or Suffer

Andrew Revkin devotes his blog today, Dot Earth on The New York Times, to the stark warnings of the Iceman, Lonnie Thompson, who “appears to have spent more time on ice fields above 18,000 feet than any human being in history.”

Glaciers serve as early indicators of climate change. Over the last 35 years, our research team has recovered ice-core records of climatic and environmental variations from the polar regions and from low-latitude high-elevation ice fields from 16 countries. The ongoing widespread melting of high-elevation glaciers and ice caps, particularly in low to middle latitudes, provides some of the strongest evidence to date that a large-scale, pervasive, and, in some cases, rapid change in Earth’s climate system is underway.

These are not simulated glaciers. These are the real thing. And they’re melting. Fast.

The shrinking of the glaciers shows that change is underway. Ice cores taken from them show that such change has happened before, and can happen quickly. And yet…

Many Americans do not even accept the reality of global warming. The fossil fuel industry has spent millions of dollars on a disinformation campaign to delude the public about the threat, and the campaign has been amazingly successful. (This effort is reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s effort to convince Americans that smoking poses no serious health hazards.) As the evidence for human-caused climate change has increased, the number of Americans who believe it has decreased. The latest Pew Research Center (2010) poll in October, 2009, shows that only 57% of Americans believe global warming is real, down from 71% in April, 2008.

from Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options; Lonnie G. Thompson; The Ohio State University–LTonly.pdf

It would be really nice if our schools taught our kids how to think. It would be even nicer if they had been doing that for the past few generations or so. But we can’t have that! If people could actually think, those in power would have a harder time lying to them to keep them in line.

So all you kids out there: you wanta know why you should study math? So you can tell when the grown-ups are lying.

P.S. Wanta take a core sample from a glacier? Here’s what it takes. It helps to have a spare yak or two.

This entry was posted in Climate, Cultural Comment, Earth Science, Science and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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