Not too hot this near-noon Tuesday here in California’s Central Valley — a spot of nice in a country heating up drastically, from LA to the desert-like southwest, further on eastward to the deep south, and then upwards into midwest America, all in a boiling sweat with temperatures way above normal.
A precarious situation with a third of the country — 125 million Americans — under heat warnings and advisories (Axios): ‘The bottom line: This is no ordinary June heat wave, and the NWS is urging residents in its path to take it seriously.‘
Of course, all this shit-heat is a direct result of climate change. And the way things have been progressing, it will only get worse, then far worse. Our predicament is well beyond terrifying.
And the shitty part is we’ve been aware of this shit coming into the nowadays for nearly 50 years — still nothing:
The 1977 White House climate memo that should have changed the world https://t.co/x7iQqxWYOu
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 14, 2022
Although Jimmy Carter was well ahead of the game in regards to a changing climate, global warming, and the environment going to shit in a wire basket due to fossil fuels, there’s a lot that’s been shoved under the rug concerning our drastic, futile situation — we’re fucked. Carter even installed solar panels on the White House in June 1979 in a gesture toward a better-fueled future, but Ron Reagan took them down in 1986.
And again to remind — we’re fucked.
Now we learn the Carter White House also got a preview of what was in store for our planet in the coming decades, but shit-nothing happened to perk up awareness and action — climate journalist Emma Pattee at the Guardian this morning writes about a noted 1977 memo of environmental science and the future.
Read the whole piece, it’s unnerving and aggravating — some snips:
In 1977 Star Wars hit movie theaters, New York City had a blackout that lasted 25 hours, and the Apple II personal computer went up for sale. It was also the year that a remarkable one-page memo was circulated at the very highest levels of US government.
Years before the climate crisis was part of national discourse, this memo outlined what was known – and feared – about the crisis at the time. It was prescient in many ways. Did anyone listen?
The climate memo arrived on his desk a few days after the Independence Day celebrations on July 4. It has the ominous title “Release of Fossil CO2 and the Possibility of a Catastrophic Climate Change.”
One of the first thing that stands out is the stamp at the top, partially elided, saying THE PRESIDENT HAS SEEN.
The memo’s author was Frank Press, Carter’s chief science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Press was a tall, serious, geophysicist who had grown up poor in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, and was described as “brilliant” by his colleagues. Before working with the Carter administration, he had been director of the Seismological Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, and had consulted for federal agencies including the Navy and NASA.
“Carter had a great respect for Frank [Press] and for science,” said Stu Eizenstat, who served as Carter’s chief domestic policy adviser from 1977 to 1981.
Press laid out some heady shit (direct from the memo):
Fossil fuel combustion has increased at an exponential rate over the last 100 years. As a result, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is now 12 percent above the pre-industrial revolution level and may grow to 1.5 to 2.0 times that level within 60 years. Because of the “greenhouse effect” of atmospheric CO2 the increased concentration will induce a global climatic warming of anywhere from 0.5 to 5°C.
The potential effect on the environment of a climatic fluctuation of such rapidity could be catastrophic and calls for an impact assessment of unprecedented importance and difficulty. A rapid climatic change may result in large scale crop failures at a time when an increased world population taxes agriculture to the limits of productivity.
The urgency of the problem derives from our inability to shift rapidly to non-fossil fuel sources once the climatic effects become evident not long after the year 2000; the situation could grow out of control before alternate energy sources and other remedial actions become effective.
Natural dissipation of C02 would not occur for a millennium after fossil fuel combustion was markedly reduced.
Despite that, almost nothing has been done in the ensuing years. Especially even after the major oil companies also came to the same conclusion about burning fossil fuels and its aftermath — Exxon knew and lied about it for almost half a century.
Via Scientific American in October 2015: ‘Exxon was aware of climate change, as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent investigation from InsideClimate News. This knowledge did not prevent the company (now ExxonMobil and the world’s largest oil and gas company) from spending decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change and even promoting climate misinformation — an approach many have likened to the lies spread by the tobacco industry regarding the health risks of smoking.‘
No one understands fully the impacts of runaway climate change — hopefully, this is ridiculous, but just some awesome CGI:
Worst-case scenario approaching 45 years later, and here we are once again…
(Illustration out front found here).