When anything bad happens we can usually count on one thing to make us feel better…chocolate. After all, there’s nothing like a good candy bar or pain au chocolat to comfort us in times of trouble. But what happens when the cruel world decides to target our chocolate supply? Continue reading
In the waning weeks of 2009, planeloads of scientists, politicians, and assorted climate wonks from 192 countries will blow through a few million tons of CO2 to jet to Copenhagen, one of the world’s most carbon-conscious cities. The occasion is the much-awaited United Nations Climate Change Conference, aka Kyoto 2. Speeches will be made. Goals and targets will be hammered out. Limited victory will be declared. Set a Google News alert for “Last Chance to Stop Global Warming.”
There’s just one problem. As many of the participants—certainly the scientists—are only too aware, the global war on carbon has not gone well for the atmosphere. The really inconvenient truth: We’re toast. Fried. Steamed. Poached. More so than even many hand-wringing carbonistas admit. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, C02 that’s already in the air or in the pipeline will stoke “irreversible” warming for the next 1,000 years.
Any scheme cobbled together in Copenhagen for slowing—forget reversing—the growth of greenhouse gases will be way too little, way too late. In the apt jargon of industry, a hotter planet is already “baked in.” James Lovelock, the British chemist who redubbed Mother Earth as “Gaia,” tells the ungilded truth: Can we hit a carbon Undo button? “Not a hope in hell.”
Crucial Arctic sea ice last summer shrank to its second lowest level on record, continuing an alarming trend, scientists announced.
The ice covered 1.74 million square miles on Friday, marking a low point for this summer, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. Last summer, the sea ice covered only 1.59 million square miles, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1979.
Arctic sea ice, which floats on the ocean, expands in winter and retreats in summer. In recent years it hasn’t been as thick in winter.
Sea ice is crucial to worldwide weather patterns, both serving as a kind of refrigerator and reflecting the sun’s heat. Given recent trends, triggered by man-made global warming, scientists warn that within five to 10 years the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer.
Even though the sea ice didn’t retreat this year as much as last summer, “there was no real sign of recovery,” said Walt Meier of the snow and ice data center. This year was cooler and other weather conditions weren’t as bad, he said.
“We’re kind of in a new state of the Arctic basically, and it’s not a good one,” Meier said. “We’re definitely sliding towards a point where the summer sea ice will be gone.”