Tomorrow Is Closer Than Yesterday

June 24, 2012

Nearly five-and-a-half years ago, Harvard energy and climate expert John Holdren, also president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, warned the planet about climate change: “We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.”

Now after all this time, we’re in an even worse environmental state, without much hope in getting anything really done about the altering climate, especially in the wake of the way-failed circus of Rio+20.

(Illustration found here).

The quote above was noted in a post last week by David Roberts at Popular Science, in which there’s a discussion about the future in regards to climate change — mitigation or adaptation?
There may not be time for the former, and the latter is gonna be rough, but Roberts does conclude: Danger is much closer than we thought.

Two stories this weekend captured that essential spirit of climate change, and both have a sense of common traits.

The first, this oddball horror story of cattle dying at a ranch east of Austin Texas.
During the day, I’d read about it at various spots, first from Crooks and Liars, about the incident as another in-your-freakin’-face example of climate change — drought combined with a bastard-adaptation of Bermuda grass.
From CBS:

“When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something,” said Abel.
“But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground.
Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions.”
Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.
“That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying,” said Abel.
Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.
“Coming off the drought that we had the last two years … we’re concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this,” Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

Operative words here are ‘suddenly started producing.’
And these cattle that died in a fairly bad way weren’t strangers to their grazing-grass, a genetically-modified form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years…
Until US Department of Agriculture brainiacs figure out what caused the cyanide to form, all cattle in that area — other ranches nearby also experienced the phenomena, but no other cattle deaths — have been kept away from areas with that Tifton 85 grass.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.
“The grasshoppers are enjoying it now,” he said.

Sounds mutant-monster-movie.

The second eye-catching story concerned results of an analysis of environmental data by the UK’s Guardian — more so-called civilization has been spewed into the air.
Sense of the math via Climate Central:

In 2010, the latest year for which figures have been compiled, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said the world emitted 35.1bn tons of carbon from energy consumption.
That represents a climb of 6.7 percent on the year before and is significantly higher than the previous best estimate, made by the International Energy Agency last year, that in 2010 a record 33.7bn tons of carbon dioxide were released from burning fossil fuel.
Increases in fossil fuel use of this magnitude are likely to carry the world far beyond the temperature rise of 2C by 2050 that scientists have estimated is the limit of safety, beyond which climate change is likely to become catastrophic and irreversible.

Operative words here, ‘significantly higher than the previous best estimate.’
In this case, however, China is belching shit into the air at a more-than alarming rate, way-beyond even the US.
China in 2010 emitted 9.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide -– up 15.5 percent on the previous year, and a 240 percent increase since 1992. That makes China alone responsible for about one-quarter of global carbon emissions from energy, emitting about 48 percent more than the U.S.
This data also backs up recent evidence that China may be emitting more carbon dioxide than had previously been thought.

See the curve — shit is coming quicker.
And from my own observation about climate science via reports, studies, research, etc. — shit is seemingly always worse than previously figured.
Remember, tomorrow is today yesterday.

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