We are Losing this Battle

By Beacon Staff

Scientists pay attention to a very specific scorecard that most clearly indicates how the battle against man-caused global warming is going. That scorecard is the measured level of CO2 in the background atmosphere. That number is presently 393 parts per million (40 percent higher than the preindustrial era) and is rising at an alarming rate of 2 ppm per year (a thousand times the greatest rate of increase ever observed over the last 800,000 years). Thus, that scorecard clearly indicates that the battle is being lost and being lost badly. It’s a rout and the piling on continues.

Another measure of our “progress” is the level of international and national governmental actions being taken to address this problem. For an excellent assessment of that scorecard see: www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/159945795.html. In short, that report indicates that essentially nothing is being done at the international level. There apparently is not an “iota of optimism that the once-promising Earth Summit on sustainability underway in Rio de Janeiro this week will produce any agreement of substance.” As the Rio conference concluded, that prediction came true – absolutely nothing of any significance had been accomplished. Therefore that scorecard also indicates that a complete rout is taking place.

There are two major reasons for this outcome to date. One is that the world’s best understanding of the science involved has been no match for the deep pockets of the fossil fuel lobby. That lobby controls the thoughts of the public and any politicians who hope to win an election. Another reason for the rout is that media of our country does not yet get it. Most forms of our media continue to present “both sides” of this issue – as though that stance in this case is virtuous rather than stupid. It should be noted that Mother Nature does things only one way – Her way. Thus, there comes a point in all scientific investigations when opinions formed on one side of an issue becomes exceedingly more valid than those on the other – and that has happened in this case. While the editors of America no longer allow their precious newsprint space to be used to promote the possibility that the world is flat, they do still provide at least half of their space allotted to opinions for scientific non-sense promoting the remote possibility that man-caused global warming is not occurring.

Perhaps our best hope for change within the next few years will come from another of Mother Nature’s scorecards – that concerning the frequency of extreme weather events, an increase in which is expected to be one of first effects of global warming. As the Earth warms, the atmosphere will hold more water vapor and what goes in, must come out. So dry places will get drier and wet places will get wetter. Also, water vapor provides the major means of energy transfer (storms, tornados, hurricanes, etc.) throughout the globe – the process of condensation is accompanied by an enormous release of energy. The big question then is: how many Duluth, Minn., will have to occur before the public and their cowardly and/or scientifically illiterate elected officials and media personnel dare to fight against the death grip that the fossil fuel interests has on us?

Eric Grimsrud