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Global Warming 102: The Price

These are some major effects of climate change or global warming:
  • Glacier Melt. As the freshwater ice sheets at the poles melt into the sea, the ocean levels rise, and what used to be seaports become...well, sea. This means cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo will be underwater in fifty years if the sea levels rise as much as many respected scientists are predicting.
  • Storms. Since the fifties, storms have been increasing in intensity every year. Average wave height in North Atlantic storms has increased by 40%.Hurricanes and other cyclone-type storms in the South Atlantic are also getting more intense. This causes more destruction, more erosion and more flooding near the coasts like we experienced with Hurricane Katrina.
  • Flash Floods. These come from thunder storms that get stalled or parked in place, and it just rains and rains.When the ground's absorbency gets overwhelmed by water, it collects in puddles that become lakes and rivers, and you get flash floods. Flash floods also happen as a result of rapid snow melt.
  • Food Shortages. Lester Brown, the president of Earth Policy Institute, reports that a 1 degree C rise in temperature leads to a decline in wheat, rice, and corn yields of 10%.
Lester Brown notes that developing nations undermine their ability to feed their people by overpumping their aquifers in order to produce water-intensive exports like computer components, by changing their eating habits from water-conserving agriculture based diets to water-intensive meat based diets (China surpassed the United States a few years ago in meat consumption per capita) and by paving over cropland to build highways for their increasing numbers of cars. Women and children suffer the most when "development" and profit is more important than people.
  • Water Shortages. Mr. Brown goes on to say in Outgrowing The Earth that water tables are affected dramatically by global warming -- our freshwater supplies are dwindling as our glaciers and ice sheets melt.In response to falling water tables, people overpump the existing aquifers to meet demand.
  • Wildfires. Noticed a lot of raging forest fires lately, and in areas where you never saw them before? This is due to trees drying out in the summertime and becoming vulnerable to every little spark and before you know it the whole forest is in flames. Again, global warming.

I have noticed that people are quick to find some individual to blame...somebody failed to put out their campfire, somebody tossed a bottle out a window in a national forest and it was THEIR fault...but fail to mention that the trees were so dried out that any little thing would have set them off. If we want somebody to blame, blame General Motors for selling gas-burning SUVs that cough up 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Some Areas are More Sensitive to Global Warming

kenai glacier
Take Alaska, for example. When Alaska heats up by two degrees, everything MELTS.

Alaska has a few things that make it special:

  • Polar ice caps...
  • glaciers...
  • big, beautiful, wide-open wilderness areas that many people and animals call home...

...oh yeah, and OIL deposits under the ice in the Arctic Refuge.


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On Science and Vested Interests

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