Dropping Acid

June 21, 2011

Sitting here along California’s northern coast on a quiet Tuesday morning — the first day of summer — the world’s largest ocean continues its massive movement a couple of miles away, and even way out there in the darkness of the Pacific, the growing danger of climate change is rippling, creating a much-more shitty future for us humans sitting on our collective asses in smug comfort.

Along with me, another nearly three billion other people live within 60 miles of some ocean, and more a dozen of the earth’s major urban centers are right at the seawater — a shitload of humanity in harm’s way.
Just in getting wet, the world’s sea levels are now rising faster than at any time in the past 2,100 years.
And the real cause of this situation — the so-called Industrial Revolution.
Mankind in its great desire for civilization has left in its wake a battered and dying planet, and despite the tornadoes, the wildfires, drought and flooding, the real nasty business of global warming is already taking place in the oceans.

(Illustration found here).

Along with the melting North and South poles, resulting in sea-level rise, the world’s oceans are becoming more polluted, more acid-like and bringing unimaginable death to our life-giving waters.
From Reuters this morning:

Time was running short to counter hazards such as a collapse of coral reefs or a spread of low-oxygen “dead zones,” according to the study led by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).
“We now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation,” according to the study by 27 experts to be presented to the United Nations.
“Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean,” it said.

Jelle Bijma, of the Alfred Wegener Institute, said the seas faced a “deadly trio” of threats of higher temperatures, acidification and lack of oxygen, known as anoxia, that had featured in several past mass extinctions.
A build-up of carbon dioxide, blamed by the U.N. panel of climate scientists on human use of fossil fuels, is heating the planet.
Absorbed into the oceans, it causes acidification, while run-off of fertilizers and pollution stokes anoxia.
“From a geological point of view, mass extinctions happen overnight, but on human timescales we may not realize that we are in the middle of such an event,” Bijma wrote.

One of the major problems in tackling climate change is the view of most of humanity ruling peoples is the lack of enthusiasm, especially from rich peoples.

Richer countries have failed to supply the $30 billion of climate financing they pledged at the Copenhagen summit in 2009, developing world officials and non- governmental organizations said.
Only about $5 billion of the funds due to be delivered through next year are “new and additional” as promised, with the rest of the so-called Fast Start money diverted from other aid budgets or previously announced, according to a report by the Washington-based Institute of Policy Studies that was endorsed by Pakistan, Bangladesh and Solomon Islands officials.
“This is overseas development aid repackaged as climate finance,” Farrukh Khan, Pakistan’s lead negotiator, said in an interview in Bonn, Germany, last week.
“Deep down, the feeling is very real that this is not happening.”

And are we too late, or what?
Or does mankind still have a chance?
An interview with Jared Diamond, a professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles, and author of, Guns, Germs, and Steel; and, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
Via Climate Progress:

“There are so many societies in which the elite made decisions that were good for themselves in the short run and ruined themselves and societies in the long run.
For example, the most advanced society in the New World before Columbus was the Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala and Honduras.
They ended up collapsing …. because of a combination of climate change, drought, water management problems, soil erosion, deforestation….So the Mayan kings had strong power.
Why didn’t the Mayan kings just look out the windows of the Palaces and see the forests getting chopped down, soil being eroded down at the valley bottom.
Why didn’t the kings say `stop it’?
Well the kings had managed to insulate themselves from the consequences of their actions — in the short run.
Even while the forests were being chopped down, they were still being fed well by the commoners, they were in their wonderful palaces.
And the kings didn’t recognize that they were making a mess until it was too late, when the commoners rose in revolt.
Similarly, in the United States at present, the policies being pursued by too many wealthy people and decision makers are ones that — as in the case of the Mayan kings — preserve their interests in the short run, but are disastrous in the long run.”

Diamond says the world has the opportunity to do something, but to paraphrase  The Rolling Stones, time is NOT on our side.

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