Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today's Sobering Read: It's already too late on climate change

To anyone who has been paying attention to the science of climate change, today's news about a distressing report from climate researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Switzerland and France isn't, um, exactly NEW. As I've interviewed scientists for various pieces on climate change, they've been telling me this for quite some time.

The report's not-so-new news is that it's already too late to stop some of the nasty consequences of our ever warming climate. The problem, as one researcher says, is that carbon dioxide is the equivalent of a toxic waste.
"I think you have to think about this stuff as more like nuclear waste than acid rain: The more we add, the worse off we'll be," NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon told reporters in a conference call. "The more time that we take to make decisions about carbon dioxide, the more irreversible climate change we'll be locked into."
This is why the foot dragging of George Bush's administration hurt all of us in a deeply profound way as writer/activist Bill McKibben noted in his conversation with me. This is also why McKibben, scientist James Hansen and others are now arguing that CO2 emissions must be limited far more than anyone has suggested before.

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