Report: Global Warming May Be Irreversible By 2006
GENEVA—A new report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned Monday that global warming is likely to become completely irreversible if no successful effort is made to slow down the trend before 2006.
Unless greenhouse-gas emissions are drastically reduced by then, the report concludes, it will be too late to avoid inflicting a grave environmental catastrophe upon future generations.
"We have absolutely no time to waste," said Dr. William Tumminelli, lead author of the report, which stresses it is utterly crucial the world cut its carbon footprint in half by the year 2000. "If we wait until 1998 or even 1995 to really start doing something about climate change, our planet's rising temperature will already have set in motion a series of devastating and irreparable long-term consequences. We need to have strict international rules in place well ahead of 2006 or, to be blunt, many of the earth's inhabitants will be doomed."
"The situation could not possibly be more urgent," Tumminelli added.
The IPCC report—the most comprehensive study of its kind ever undertaken—estimates the failure to address global warming immediately could result in sea levels rising 6 inches by the end of the 20th century, 2000-2009 being the hottest decade ever recorded, and roughly half the Arctic ice cap melting by 2011.
Even before 2006, when the report indicates the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reach "entirely unmanageable levels," scientists confirm the likelihood of an alarming increase in the frequency and severity of hurricanes, floods, heat waves, and droughts, which could lead to death tolls in the hundreds of thousands.
"Climate change is the deadliest crisis currently facing humanity, so needless to say, we can expect it to be the dominant issue of the 2000 presidential election," Brookings Institution political analyst Gloria Leting said. "It stands to reason that, as the world's foremost producer of greenhouse gases, the United States will want to take the lead in preventing this disaster while we still have time."
"We can also count on hearing U.S. Senate candidates make firm campaign promises to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as they take office," continued Leting, referring to the U.N. accord that aims to enforce emission standards starting in 2005. "Our elected officials realize Americans don't want to suffer the embarrassment of not being among the first nations to approve such an vitally important agreement."
The report also outlines a set of year-by-year goals aimed at curbing emissions prior to 2006, such as weatherizing all homes by 1979, replacing household light bulbs with compact fluorescent models by 1985, phasing out fossil fuels by 1992, and taking steps to ensure the world population never reaches the "exceedingly dangerous" 7 billion mark.
If the 2006 deadline isn't met, climatologists warn the world will eventually experience planet-wide cataclysms, including massive shortages of potable water, insufficient crop productivity, the extinction of numerous species, and unprecedented outbreaks of famine and pandemic disease.
"The picture by the end of the 21st century becomes quite bleak, frankly," Dr. Tumminelli said. "I, for one, would not want to live in the world this report describes: entire Asian cities underwater from monsoon flooding, mass human diasporas, wars fought over the scraps of habitable land still remaining—hell on earth, basically. Our only hope is for the nations of the world to put aside their individual interests and take decisive action by 2006."
Although the report represents the collaborative efforts of several thousand scientists, some observers expressed doubt about the objectivity of the study.
"I think the report is a bit reactionary, and perhaps even politically motivated." said Arthur Bainbridge, a climate policy specialist based in Washington. "Plenty of alternative models have estimated 2008 or even 2010 as the absolute point of no return
Richard Branson's Global-Warming Donation Nearly As Much As Cost Of Failed Balloon Trips
LONDON—Analysts are predicting that the $3 billion Sir Richard Branson has pledged for developing energy sources to combat global warming could come close to matching the amount the entrepreneur, adventurer, and Virgin CEO has already spent on elaborate balloon-based excursions.
"This unprecedented and extremely generous investment rivals the amounts Branson spent on his many, many failed attempts to circumnavigate the Earth in a balloon," Wall Street stock analyst Madeleine Brauner said. "He's setting a wonderful example for ultrarich environmentalists everywhere."
Branson also reportedly plans to invest billions more on a time machine that would enable him to prevent the creation of Virgin Airways, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by some four percent worldwide.
I'm Doing My Inconsequential Part For The Environment
As human beings continue to wreak havoc on the ecosystem, with seemingly no awareness of the long-term effects of our shortsighted actions, we seriously jeopardize the fragile balance of life on this big blue marble we call Spaceship Earth. Now is the time to take steps toward creating a cleaner environment, however insignificant and useless those steps may be. That's why I'm doing my own laughably inconsequential part to end pollution, limit damage to our precious ecosystem, and preserve what remains of our planet's biodiversity for future generations.
Every day, without fail, I meticulously organize my recyclables into five distinct categories, thereby subtracting an eyedropper's worth of garbage from the countless tons of waste that ferment in our landfills. It only takes a few extra minutes, but just think of the impact it totally lacks. I also refuse to use anything but "Earth-friendly" paper products—some of which contain up to 10 percent recycled materials. For me, it's worth shouldering the extra cost, but, unfortunately, only a scant few of us bother to do the same. And growing some of my own organic vegetables in my backyard garden also, to my immense gratification, reduces the use of toxic chemical-based pesticides and herbicides present in corporate farming techniques by as much as 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent.
These quixotic, Sisyphean efforts are my way of dealing with what is perhaps the most crucial and difficult issue of our time.
Why do I boycott multinational oil and gas corporations that fail to acknowledge and address global-warming issues, resulting in a few less dollars in their swollen coffers? Or participate in demonstrations against local wetland destruction that are attended by as many as a dozen people, before the wetland is eventually drained and cleared for a new Wal-Mart anyway? Why make the effort? Because I care. And I want these feelings to manifest themselves in barely measurable ways.
By using mass transit or riding my bike whenever possible, I may not be able to influence greenhouse-gas emissions standards or reduce mass global addiction to fossil fuels one iota. Nor, by slavishly collecting every banana peel or coffee ground to make my own rich garden compost, will I alter our consumer culture's pathological tendency to devour everything it encounters at an exponentially advancing rate. Restricting my household energy use to non-peak hours does not make me capable of reversing temperature changes in the gulf stream that even now have begun to throw the world's climate out of equilibrium. The question, however, is not "What can't I do?" but rather, "What can I do?"
The answer: next to nothing.
At the very least, I know with absolute certainty that I have done everything I can to nurture and protect the environment, through genuinely well-intentioned albeit minuscule actions, tragically destined to have absolutely no substantive effect. For I sleep better at night knowing that I have as much influence on global environmental policy as I would had I never been born.
Conservation is more urgent than ever. Scientists inform us that the combined effects of fossil-fuel consumption, land clearance, and overfishing the planet's seas have already ushered in a period of "mass global extinction," the sixth so far recorded in Earth's history, and the only one to be entirely man-made. In the next century, between two-thirds and three-fourths of all plant and animal species now in existence could become permanently extinct. But by carefully conserving water with the specially designed low-impact toilet I had installed, I can take comfort in the knowledge that I did what I could do to delay this inevitable global death-age by as many as several nanoseconds.
Won't you join me in this ongoing effort to foster an imperceptible improvement to this doomed and dying planet? You'll be rewarded with the knowledge that, despite the irreversible effects of centuries of sustained environmental abuse by the human race, individuals, working together, can fight this inevitability in a real, concrete, tiny, and totally ineffective show of unity.
Together, we can make an unbelievably negligible difference
Continuing the truly inspiring trend that K8 has been on only seemed like the right thing to do. For sure my life and my outlook on how terribly we're treating the environment have been totally turned around by her noble efforts to spam the shit out of us with questionably accurate, outdated or completely sensationalized eco-crap... sometimes to the tune of 3 new and exciting threads in 3 hours!! Her spontaneous and totally uncalled for news feed directly into General Anarchy has given direction to my previously meaningless life. Hopefully now you too have decided to rise above your shallow existence of PUI posts, teen insulting, TFLN's, friday pics and douche-kayak stories to witness the overwhelming glory of the green, green light.
Either way, keep the reports on turtle slaughters coming Sailingk8. We're allllllll sitting on the edges of our collective seats waiting for more.