Tuesday, March 05, 2013

World Climate Like An Athlete On Steroids

"'I think one of the best ways of thinking about it is imagining that the base line has shifted,' Tim Flannery, the commission’s leader, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “If an athlete takes steroids, for example, their base line shifts. They’ll do fewer slow times and many more record-breaking fast times.”
'The same thing is happening with our climate system,' he said. 'As it warms up, we’re getting fewer cold days and cold events and many more record hot events.'" (NY Times "Report Blames Climate Change For Extremes in Australia")
 His evidence:
"At least 123 weather records fell during the 90-day period the report examined.  Included were milestones like the hottest summer on record, the hottest day for Australia as a whole and the hottest seven consecutive days ever recorded.  To put it into perspective, in the 102 years since Australia began gathering national records, there have been 21 days when the country averaged a high of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) and eight of them were in 2012."

Of those who denied global climate change for years and years and now accept that it is happening, many still deny that it is human caused. Of those who acknowledge human's contribution, many believe there is nothing we can do about it except work on mitigating the effects.

The concerns I have with Arctic oil drilling are not simply concern about the possibility of an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean.  My longer term concern is that we continue to go after energy sources that exacerbate climate change and make the long term damage worse.  The $5 billion that Shell says they've already invested in Arctic drilling in Alaska would have been much better spent on developing affordable alternative energy.

But those whose aptitudes and expertise are geared toward drilling oil, and who work for multinational oil companies whose infrastructure is aimed at drilling oil, are like addicts in denial.  Their life work, not to mention their life style, are all built on the belief that they are doing the world good by supplying us with oil.  To accept the idea that they are also contributing to climate change which could lead to the submergence of island nations and low lying geography like Florida and Manhattan, is in conflict with who they are and what they do. 

And while they gained wealth and privilege through their oil work, even the enormous wealth of the oil companies cannot compensate for the damage that will come.    


  1. "And while they gained wealth and privilege through their oil work, even the enormous wealth of the oil companies cannot compensate for the damage that will come."

    While THEY gained wealth and privilege? You live in the west pal, that means YOU gained wealth and privilege right along with them. This blog you have is supported by that wealth and privilege. If you feel guilty and want to give up your western wealth and priveledge, sell everything you own and go live in a dirt floor village in Africa for the rest of your life. Otherwise its time to look in the mirror.


  2. Klem, You're absolutely right about us all being part of this. I've pointed out in previous posts that without us consuming the product, they would find something else to do.

    But the choice is not huge oil consumption or a dirt floor in Africa. By the way, I have spent time living on the local economy in less rich countries. While their physical standards of living maybe be lower than ours in terms of owning stuff, except for the truly impoverished, they have a richness of family and social support that most Americans no longer have. So I know that we can modify our energy consumption in ways that don't threaten a good life, unless good life for you only means having lots of oil consuming stuff.

    I'm not sure what your 'look in the mirror' comment is supposed to mean. Since you only identify yourself as Klem, I don't know what you see in your mirror. So I'm not sure what your point is. That I can't criticize the oil companies? That I can't talk about global climate change? That I'm contributing to the problem as much as the oil companies? That I should shut up and consume for as long as I can?

    Whatever your point is, it doesn't let the oil companies off the hook because they help shape US and world energy policy through their various ways of influencing governments and the energy infrastructures that make it so difficult for average citizens to get off our oil habit.


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