Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Juan Cole weighs in: "One obvious lesson of Muller’s study is that coal should be banned immediately and its manufacture and distribution should be criminalized"

The Collapse of the Climate Change Contrarians and the End of Coal | Informed Comment
Muller’s study analyzed all the weather data available since 1750 and found that the average temperature of the earth increase by 1 percent from 1750 to 1850, and has increased another 1.5 percent since 1850, for a total of 2.5 percent since the beginnings of the industrial revolution.

...One surprise of Muller’s study is that he was able to show fairly rigorously [how'd he do that, specifically?] that the human-generated changes began in a steady way in 1750, not, as many climate historians had thought, in 1850 or even more recently.

...Still, mass deaths of humans, as during the Black Plague or the European-induced epidemics that killed off most of the Native Americans, probably caused colder temperatures for a while in the aftermath.
...If we go on the way we have been, spewing ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we will produce a tropical planet with no ice on it and will forestall any further ice ages for at least 100,000 years. Since there are places humans now live, such as cities in Sindh, Pakistan, that already reach over 130 degrees F. in the summer, likely the planet we are creating will have large swathes of uninhabitable scorching places on it. Climate change will involve extreme weather events like massive storms, and these in turn may damage the ozone layer, sunburning us all to death.
One obvious lesson of Muller’s study is that coal should be banned immediately and its manufacture and distribution should be criminalized...This task has to be our number one priority, more important than fighting a small terrorist organization in distant lands, more important than spending 20 times on the war industries what our closest ally does, more important that imprisoning people for a few tokes, more important than tax breaks for the wealthy, more important than reproductive issues...

Ronald Reagan used to fantasize that an alien invasion could unite human beings across capitalist and communist systems. Well, Reaganites now have their chance: Climate Change is a kind of alien invasion, threatening the human species, and here is an opportunity to put aside differences and unite to meet the biggest challenge we have faced in our 150,000 years of existence as homo sapiens sapiens. And, yes, this is an issue and a research that could and should unite Arabs and Israelis, both of them among the peoples most endangered by climate change (Egypt’s delta and Tel Aviv won’t be there after a while if we go on like this).

What we are doing in this generation and the next to the earth will affect it for tens of thousands of years, and we could well be putting our survival as a species at risk. We are certainly likely to kill off most other species.

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