This is disturbing. CNN and Time Magazine released a story today about the accelerated pace of global warming. Global warming is something we're all familiar with, and it's not exactly a new phenomenon, but apparently it has begun to accelerate in the last year or two as the effects of global warming have begun to amplify each other, creating feedback loops or situations in which the results of global warming have begun to cause even greater or faster-paced, measurable effects. For example, the melting of ice in the polar regions (caused by an increase in man made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) is causing the earth to heat up at an even more accelerated rate, as melting polar caps cause less of the sun's energy to be reflected away from the earth (which, in turn, causes the earth to absorb this heat energy and the earth's atmosphere to heat up at a faster rate). Melting polar ice is also adding fresh water to the world's oceans, causing a disruption of the Gulf Stream which could, ironically, cause some continental temperatures to plummet (especially Europe) as the flow of warm salt water which normally regulates temperatures along the coasts is disrupted by an influx of melting fresh water from the polar ice caps. The glacial ice sheets of Greenland have doubled the rates at which they're melting over the last ten years, and continental droughts and tropical storms and hurricanes of increased intensity are all symptoms of greenhouse warming. Scientists predict a rise in ocean levels in the coming decades by 20 feet or more.
In the face of all of this, the Bush administration has resolutely refused to impose strict standards for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, saying that such restrictions would unfairly hinder the U.S. economy (including a complete refusal to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol, a United Nations initiative in which over 160 countries- including most all of the world's industrialized nations- have agreed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S.'s refusal to join in the protocol is particularly devastating since the U.S. leads the world in the amount of greenhouse emissions which we release into the atmosphere).
Hopefully things are about to change, though. The polls cited in this article claim that somewhere around 85% of americans think something needs to be done about global warming, and even Bush has begun to try to implement some incentive programs for the reduction of greenhouse gasses, although his policies lack the hard and fast regulatory power that scientists insist is necessary in order to have a chance at beginning to correct the problem.
Anyway, the article is scary.
Let's all carpool or something.