December 29, 2006

Is it already too late?

I have been really concerned about our relatively mild winter and lack of precip here in Nevada. I've got rose bushes that still haven't lost their leaves, and until the recent cold snap, bushes that have attempted to bud (twice so far this season). Is this just one more piece in the puzzle?

From the Huffington Post this article about a huge mass of the Canadian Arctic ice shelf breaking off. Experts attribute it to global warming.

The Ayles Ice Shelf — all 41 square miles of it — broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 500 miles south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic.

[...]

The ice shelf was one of six major shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic. They are packed with ancient ice that is more than 3,000 years old. They float on the sea but are connected to land.

Some scientists say it is the largest event of its kind in Canada in 30 years and that climate change was a major element.

"It is consistent with climate change," Vincent said, adding that the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were first discovered in 1906. "We aren't able to connect all of the dots ... but unusually warm temperatures definitely played a major role."
A commenter at HuffPo posted a link to this article about a inhabited island completely submerged by rising ocean levels.
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.

Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.
In Al Gore's documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth (if you haven't seen it, do), he speaks of the inevitability of these sorts of events if we do nothing. Well, we've been doing nothing (won't even sign on to Kyoto!), and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Can we reverse this? I don't know. But could we at least try? This isn't a right or left issue. This is about our survival as a species...hell, as a planet...we're not just talking human survival here.

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