Sunday, October 28, 2012

Climate change (again)

If the effects of climate change are most noticeable the further you are from the ocean, the equator, and sea level, Bolivia which is a landlocked country whose capital LaPaz is over 4000 meters (13,300 feet) above sea level should be an ideal example.  It is.

Bolivia has taken it upon herself to warn the rest of us about the impending calamity.  Unfortunately, those who wish to deny climate change are pretty much impervious to evidence.

OCTOBER 22, 2012
The Big Meltdown

Bolivia: Life at the Extreme Edge of Climate Change


The Earth is really truly changing right before our eyes, weather patterns are more erratic than ever before, storms more severe, droughts more parched, and glaciers disappearing faster than ever. This is climate change, and it is different… different from what anybody remembers as a child while growing up. But, nobody on planet earth is more sensitive to these changes than the people who live in the high Andes where aerial photos that were taken in 1983, when compared to today, show one-half of the 20,000-year-old glaciers have vanished within the past couple of decades, much faster than climatologists predicted.

Glacial time is no longer a cushion!

By the time the oceans start lapping up on the doorsteps of Venice, California’s neighborhood beach homes, gushing thru the skyscraper-canyons of Wall Street, and flooding the city of Miami it will be way too late for finger pointing because by then humankind will be huddled together on high plateaus, perspiring, seething, and hungry, as the masses of people approach the gated communities, seeking recompense, but, in reality, it will be too late. By then, the masses can only point fingers at themselves for letting it happen!

That is the future, but today is now, and the people who deny global warming are the planet’s eco-terrorists, and they should be exposed today, not in the future hiding behind gated communities. Key climate change deniers, according to Rolling Stone magazine, are listed at: Who’s to Blame: 12 Politicians and Execs Blocking Progress on Global Warming, Rolling Stone, January 19, 2011.

The country of Bolivia is dedicated to opening the eyes of the world to upcoming disaster. To better understand this impending disaster it is imperative to read the following article from five years ago because it is even more poignant today: The Big Thaw by Tim Appenzeller, National Geographic staff, National Geographic, June 2007:. The article is a must read for anybody who cares about global warming; it is an article that commands a re-read. Or, for an updated version on climate change, read this review of Extreme Ice by Nova/National Geographic, which aired on PBS, December 2011; a review of the film appears in Z Magazine.

Will the indigenous people of Bolivia lead the way to ecological salvation for Mother Earth? They intend to do just that. Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth categorizes natural resources as “blessings,” subject to special rights for nature and the right to pure water and clean air and the right not to be polluted. Bolivia is on the frontline of climate change because of the high altitude of one-half the country with the tropical rain forest down below. Climate research conducted by glaciologist Edson Ramirez of Universidad Mayor de San Andres claims temperatures have been steadily rising for 60 years in the Andes and on track to rise another 3.5-4C over the next 100 years, turning much of Bolivia into barren desert!

In 2011 The Guardian’s John Vidal (UK) traveled to the high country to personally see the effects of global warming. Vidal traveled to the Andes’ foothills at 3,900 metres (2.5 miles) elevation to a village where methodical farming practices have been the same for over 100 years, and he met farmers who are on the front line of how climate change has impacted their decades-old farming techniques. Faustino Mamari, a village community leader, showed Vidal plants that consistently produced 50 beans per annum, year in year out, but now produce only 3-4-5 beans. With rising temperatures, infestations that previously did not bother crops because of the climate have migrated up the mountainside, following the warmer trend. Furthermore, the normal seasonal weather patterns of the past decades have turned unpredictable and as a result, destructive to regular farming practices. Today, the century-old homesteads of the farming village are nearly half empty. more
The UK, which is currently staggering under the dictates of the austerity ghouls, has produced this sad little character who wants us to "understand" that climate change denial is the logical outcome of penny-pinching.  Of course, he holds out hope that the politicians will soon see the light if the climate calamity only produces a big enough disaster.  Actually, Dave, MOST politicians are only too delighted to spend money and could easily be convinced to spend it on better, more carbon-friendly, infrastructure.  Their problem is that they have been convinced that nothing can be done about the arrangements where all the money is in the hands of greedy, unimaginative, criminals.  So long as most politicians are a wholly-owned branch of the bankster's criminal enterprise, they can be convinced that spending enough money to save the planet is literally unthinkable.

David Attenborough: US politicians duck climate change because of cost

The naturalist warned it would take a terrible example of extreme weather to wake people up to global warming

Adam Vaughan and Camila Ruz, 25 October 2012

The broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough says scientists and environmentalists have been cautious of overstating the dangers of global warming.

One of the world's leading naturalists has accused US politicians of ducking the issue of climate change because of the economic cost of tackling it and warned that it would take a terrible example of extreme weather to wake people up to the dangers of global warming.

Speaking just days after the subject of climate change failed to get a mention in the US presidential debates for the first time in 24 years, Sir David Attenborough told the Guardian: "[It] does worry me that most powerful nation in the world, North America, denies what the rest of us can see very clearly [on climate change]. I don't know what you do about that. It's easier to deny."

Asked what was needed to wake people up, the veteran broadcaster famous for series such as Life and Planet Earth said: "Disaster. It's a terrible thing to say, isn't it? Even disaster doesn't do it. There have been disasters in North America, with hurricanes and floods, yet still people deny and say 'oh, it has nothing to do with climate change.' It visibly has got [something] to do with climate change."

But some US politicians found it easier to deny the science on climate change than take action, he said, because the consequence of recognising the science on man-made climate change "means a huge section from the national budget will be spent in order to deal with it, plenty of politicians will be happy to say 'don't worry about that, we're not going to increase your taxes.'"

Neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney mentioned climate change in three TV debates, despite a summer of record temperatures and historic drought in the US.

Romney used Obama's commitment to taking action on climate change as a joke in his convention speech. The president later hit back by saying "and yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke." However, environmentalists have been critical of Obama's silence on the subject and the Green party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, went as far as saying it meant he was, in effect, "another climate denier".

Attenborough said he thought the US's attitude towards climate change and the environment was not just because of politics, but because of the country's history. "[It's] because they're a pioneer country. There has been the wild west, the western frontier… that's still there, you see it in the arms business, the right for everyone to bear arms. It's part of the pioneer stuff that you've [Americans] grown up with.

By contrast, he said, people in the UK had "grown up with a mythology of black industry and wrecking the countryside."

The current financial crisis has made it problematic for politicians to show leadership on climate change, Attenborough acknowledged.

"Well it's a very difficult time to do it [show leadership]. In times of recession, it's a very difficult time to advance these arguments [on the urgency of tackling climate change] that mean you have to spend even more money and take money from taxes to do things," he said. more

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