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Friday, February 02, 2007

Bush, ExxonMobil, and the Climate; Time to Lead, Follow, or Get the Hell Out of the Way

Now this is depressing. Not only is global warming indisputable, but it's also unstoppable. At least, the way things stand today.

Associated Press:

The world's leading climate scientists, in their most powerful language ever used on the issue, said global warming is "very likely" man-made, according to a new report obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

The report provides what may be cold comfort in slightly reduced projections on rising temperatures and sea levels by the year 2100. But it is tempered by a flat pronouncement that global warming is essentially a runaway train that cannot be stopped for centuries.

"The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice-mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that is not due to known natural causes alone," said the 20-page report.

Human-caused warming and rises in sea-level "would continue for centuries" because the process has already started, "even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized," said the 20-page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Part of the problem is that glacial and polar ice contain carbon that's being released as it thaws. Melting ice releases carbon which melts the ice which releases carbon which melts the ice which... you get the idea.

The IPCC report has been called 'the smoking gun' on global warming.


"Although President Bush just noticed that the earth is heating up, the American public, every reputable scientist and other world leaders have long recognized that global warming is real and it's serious. The time to act is now," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who with GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine crafted one of a half-dozen competing bills to address global warming.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a senior member of House panels on energy and natural resources, said that "for those who are still trying to determine responsibility for global warming, this new U.N. report on climate change is a scientific smoking gun."

The White House issued a statement less than four hours after the report's release defending Bush's six-year record on global climate change, beginning with his acknowledgment in 2001 that the increase in greenhouse gases is due largely to human activity.

Notice how the White House's first reaction isn't "we've got one helluva lot of work to do?" No, as it always is, the Bush administration's first impulse is to issue a press release covering their ass. Never mind that recognizing a problem isn't the same thing as doing something about it. "Hey, don't blame me," isn't actually going to accomplish anything. How's that for leadership?

But if Bush's lack of leadership on the issue is bad, the oil industry's reaction is worse.

The Guardian, via Think Progress:

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.


The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.

Yesterday, I posted that ExxonMobil reported record profits this year -- $39.5 billion. Golly, think that number might have something to do with ExxonMobil's irresponsibility? I've said it before -- people have killed for a lot less.

What we need here is an Apollo project to not only reduce carbon emissions drastically, but also to filter carbon from the atmosphere. We've come to the point where reducing carbon emissions will only slow the process, not stop it.

I don't know if I've made this point before on this blog, but I believe that humans may be the only creatures on Earth with the ability to evolve themselves. If evolution is adaptation, we've proven our ability to adapt to environments that would normally kill us -- people have walked on the moon and seen the very bottom of the ocean, people have survived cancer and horrific disease, we can fly. Our technology has become our strongest survival trait, unmatched by any other creature on the planet. I don't doubt that we find a solution. But, to do that, we have to actually look for one.

We don't have any other choice. It will mean no longer believing that we can live in the reality of our choosing and telling morons like those at ExxonMobil to STFU. It means telling Bush to lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

We can create new technologies and new markets and, if the oil companies won't adapt to take advantage of these markets and technologies
(because there's absolutely no question as to whether they actually can), then we let nature take it's course. Welcome to Darwinism, ExxonMobil -- adapt or die. Don't let the door hit you in the ass as you head to economic extinction.


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