Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists are Fueling the Climate Crisisand What We Can Do to Avert Disaster by Ross Gelbspan. Basic Books, New York City, 2004. Hardback $22.00.
Ed. Note: this is Part 2 of the review begun last month.
Gelbspans call to action is published by Basic Books. Very appropriate. There is no more basic problem right now than climate change. It is inexorable, and it is how we handle it that will determine our survival as a species. I have a new book, Collision, by Jared Diamond, which discusses the collapse of civilizations. The historical record shows that those collapses are due to earth and climate changes, and that the viability of the civilization depends on how they handle the changes. I will review this book in the future.
It IS true that the history of earths climate changes have been marked by large swings, and periods of great instability. This is part of nature. However, climate scientists now agree that human activities have a great influence on the increase in global warming at this time. If we change our habitsin a big way, and NOWwe can slow down global warming. We can at least give ourselves time to prepare for a drastically new way of living with the earth.
Back in 1995, and before, scientists were predicting what is now occurring. Even with the vastly less computer capability of that time, they are finding that computer models of prediction are matching the facts very closely.
The evidence has been piling up. By 2003, even the most conservative scientists were adamant about the fact that humans, primarily through their burning of fossil fuels, are heating the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide in the air is a heat-trapper. In the last few years, it has suddenly gone up 30%, to a level not seen for 420,000 years. A substantial portion of the heat has been absorbed by the earths oceans. But Ive been reading lately that the carbon-absorbing ability of earths eco-system is running out. What then? Will our atmosphere become like that of Venus, poisonus to life?
GW Bush talks about pre-emptive strikes on other nations. What we really need is a pre-emptive strike on global warmingto reduce its impact and its destructive possibilities.
Some snapshots of global warming:
All over the world, species are traveling towards the poles in an effort to maintain temperature stability.
Warming is accelerating the migration of species around the globe, and changing the timing of the seasons. Some species breed as much as 24 days earlier.
Animals have shifted north an average of four miles per decade during the twentieth century.
Animals are migrating, hatching eggs, and bearing young five days earlier than at the turn of the twentieth century. This was a surprise to the scientists, given the small temperature rise to date.
Says Bill McKibben, "By accident, we are changing the rhythms of nature by which we have lived our lives and planted our crops and written our poetry for 10,000 years."
Habitats are changing very rapidly. Much of the spruce and fir forests of New England and New York State may be wiped out if we dont reduce the rate of global warming.
Global warming is very real, much of it is manmade, and it is happening very fast. WE CAN SLOW IT DOWN! More next month .