Extreme Fireworks: ‘A truly peculiar moment’

July 4, 2012

Here on California’s northern coast it’s cool and moist way-early this July 4, and most-likely will evolve into another sweet day — clear and warm.
Nowadays, the word, ‘warm,’ however, is way-relative.

Travel just a few miles east and temperatures start climbing — while it’s 60 degrees here at the coast, it’s at least 10 degrees warmer just a short distance inland.
And go farther east, maybe beyond the Rocky Mountains and you’ve got a weather nightmare.

A terrifying heatwave is blasting the mid-to-Atlantic US with literally thousands of temp records broken, even as more than 1.5 million are still without electrical power, as in NO AC!

(Illustration found here).

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray spoke not to reality: “We need a game change. We need to speak not so much about how quickly we restore power, but how do we reduce the likelihood of this happening again in the future,” he said.
Mayor Gray did cry for one major thing required right now — ‘a game change.’
However, there’s no turning back: What he and his constituents are experiencing is the nasty reality of the future — and not a way-away future, but near more to real-time.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has penned a kind of layman’s look at the current environment and another climate change plea:

Still don’t believe in climate change?
Then you’re either deep in denial or delirious from the heat.
As I write this, the nation’s capital and its suburbs are in post-apocalypse mode.
About one-fourth of all households have no electricity, the legacy of an unprecedented assault by violent thunderstorms Friday night.
Things are improving: At the height of the power outage, nearly half the region was dark.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which monitors global surface temperatures, reports that nine of the warmest 10 years on record have occurred since 2000.
The warmest year of all was 2010; last year was only the ninth warmest, but global temperatures were still almost a full degree warmer than they were during the middle of the 20th century.
Why might this be happening?
Well, the level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is more than 35 percent greater than in 1880, NASA scientists report, with most of the increase coming since 1960.
And why might carbon dioxide levels be rising?
Because since the Industrial Revolution, humankind has been burning fossil fuels—and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—at what could turn out to be a catastrophic rate.
Scientists’ predictions about how quickly temperatures would rise—and how rapidly assorted phenomena, such as melting polar ice and rising sea levels, would proceed—have turned out, thus far, to be conservative.

As I’ve said before, this climate-change shit is worse than predicted — studies, research and so forth nearly always seems to have this note of faster/quicker that previously thought.
So, even as the world outside one’s window is going up in smoke, why the delay in getting a grip on this close-up-and-personal disaster?
Deniers have bigger yaps.

Watch a good video of extreme weather and climate change with Amy Goodman at Democracy Now!
She talks  with Suzanne Goldenberg, the U.S. environment correspondent of The Guardian,  and Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground website.
Money quote from Masters: “What we’re seeing now is the future. We’re going to be seeing a lot more weather like this, a lot more impacts like we’re seeing from this series of heat waves, fires and storms. This is just the beginning.”

The big problem is the news media — toadies to the powers that be.
From Treehugger:

So there’s really no excuse for this statistic, uncovered in a Media Matters analysis: Just 3 percent of the wildfire news coverage even mentions climate change or global warming at all.
To be clear, that doesn’t mean that 3 percent of the wildfire stories are about climate change — 97 percent don’t mention it at all.

It used to work something like this: Local news stations and newspapers would run a climate change story, and get hate mail from the fringy climate change naysayers — and likely no laudatory notes from appreciative ordinary viewers (or climate advocates, for that matter).
‘This makes people mad,’ the beleaguered producer would say, ‘so why kick the hornet’s nest?’
The same phenomenon afflicted national news media, to exponentially amplified effect.
The dust kicked up over the Climate Gate email hacking is a fine example of those mechanics in action.
Now, high profile public officials on up to the Speaker of the House of the United States Congress have adopted views once on the fringe, seeming to validate them in the process.
They’ve helped construct a new social norm wherein it is acceptable to openly disavow well-established scientific findings, and those opinions act as a powerful staying force against any demand for good climate reporting.
And establishment news outlets heed that norm.
If they just stay quiet on the topic, the only flack they catch is from those disgruntled “environmentalists” who hold no real positions of power, aren’t Very Serious People, and can be easily waved away as harboring an agenda.
And thus we find ourselves in a truly peculiar moment where scientists are pointing at record-breaking fires and heat waves and saying “This! This is what climate change looks like!” while editors and producers are going, “Well, Republicans still think it’s a hoax.
So let’s cut out that NASA global warming bit.”

And maybe, too, let’s just cut out being alive.

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