This summer, while Americans have been distracted by Tea Party antics and Europeans obsessed by sovereign debt crises, while the world has been holding its breath in fear of a double dip depression, mother nature has not stopped her angry response to our thoughtless destruction of the earth's ecology. Unprecedented heat, drought and forest fires in Central Russia, floods in Pakistan and Eastern Europe, huge mud slides in western China, and the break-off of a 97 square mile chunk of the Greenland ice shelf have been headline news throughout the month of August.
Not all of this bad news is directly caused by warming. Chinese and Pakistani environmentalists have cautioned that erosion due to deforestation, industrial development and poor land planning are partly responsible for the disasters in their countries. But the extreme weather conditions precipitating them are consistent with the warnings of climate scientists during the past decade. For an assessment of how much of this ongoing catstrophe may be the result of climate change, see Warming Behind Extreme Weather of 2010.
For a commentary on the significance of the melting arctic by the founder of Weather Underground, see Meteorologist Jeff Masters on This Year\'s Arctic Melt.
For an analysis of the consequences of the Greenland ice melt: Geosciences Profs To Congress....
For an article on why Chinese energy experts are dubious about implementing CCS: China Energy Chiefs Holding Off on CCS.
And for a view of Chinese toughness on reducing emissions per unit of production, see Chinese Iron Hand...to Close Thousands of Factories
With climate politics in the U.S. being gridlocked by filibuster rules, this year's elections and energy giant lobbying, action to prevent ever greater disasters will depend in the near future on the intelligence and courage of governments in the European Union and China. It will also depend on the ability of citizens to pierce the fog of corporate media misinformation and transcend immediate economic concerns. Without strong public pressure to counterbalance the narrow self-interest of the oil and coal industry, governments are unlikely to take serious action against global warming.
Time is running out.
Arthur Mitzman (coordinator, Concerned Citizens against Climate Change)