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Ravengregory
03-27-2006, 02:56 PM
So yeah, this pretty much sucks and throws off my the rest of my century - Earth:no:


Earth Is at The Tipping Point
The climate is crashing and global warming is to blame. Why the crisis hit so soon -- and what we can do about it.
By JEFFREY KLUGER, TIME
Of the 20 hottest years on record, 19 occurred in the 1980s or later. According to NASA, 2005 was one of the hottest years in over a century.

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No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you've heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.


It certainly looked that way last week as the atmospheric bomb that was Cyclone Larry -- a Category 5 storm with wind bursts that reached 180 m.p.h. -- exploded through northeastern Australia. It certainly looked that way last year as curtains of fire and dust turned the skies of Indonesia orange, thanks to drought-fueled blazes sweeping the island nation. It certainly looks that way as sections of ice the size of small states calve from the disintegrating Arctic and Antarctic. And it certainly looks that way as the sodden wreckage of New Orleans continues to molder, while the waters of the Atlantic gather themselves for a new hurricane season just two months away. Disasters have always been with us and surely always will be. But when they hit this hard and come this fast -- when the emergency becomes commonplace -- something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warming.


The image of Earth as organism -- famously dubbed Gaia by environmentalist James Lovelock -- has probably been overworked, but that's not to say the planet can't behave like a living thing, and these days, it's a living thing fighting a fever. From heat waves to storms to floods to fires to massive glacial melts, the global climate seems to be crashing around us. Scientists have been calling this shot for decades. This is precisely what they have been warning would happen if we continued pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping the heat that flows in from the sun and raising global temperatures.


Environmentalists and lawmakers spent years shouting at one another about whether the grim forecasts were true, but in the past five years or so, the serious debate has quietly ended. Global warming, even most skeptics have concluded, is the real deal, and human activity has been causing it. If there was any consolation, it was that the glacial pace of nature would give us decades or even centuries to sort out the problem.


But glaciers, it turns out, can move with surprising speed, and so can nature. What few people reckoned on was that global climate systems are booby-trapped with tipping points and feedback loops, thresholds past which the slow creep of environmental decay gives way to sudden and self-perpetuating collapse. Pump enough CO2 into the sky, and that last part per million of greenhouse gas behaves like the 212th degree Fahrenheit that turns a pot of hot water into a plume of billowing steam. Melt enough Greenland ice, and you reach the point at which you're not simply dripping meltwater into the sea but dumping whole glaciers. By one recent measure, several Greenland ice sheets have doubled their rate of slide, and just last week the journal Science published a study suggesting that by the end of the century, the world could be locked in to an eventual rise in sea levels of as much as 20 ft. Nature, it seems, has finally got a bellyful of us.




Cover
Global Warming

Nation
Republicans on
the Run

This Issue:
Contents





"Things are happening a lot faster than anyone predicted," says Bill Chameides, chief scientist for the advocacy group Environmental Defense and a former professor of atmospheric chemistry. "The last 12 months have been alarming." Adds Ruth Curry of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts: "The ripple through the scientific community is palpable."


And it's not just scientists who are taking notice. Even as nature crosses its tipping points, the public seems to have reached its own. For years, popular skepticism about climatological science stood in the way of addressing the problem, but the naysayers -- many of whom were on the payroll of energy companies -- have become an increasingly marginalized breed. In a new TIME/ ABC News/ Stanford University poll, 85 percent of respondents agree that global warming probably is happening. Moreover, most respondents say they want some action taken. Of those polled, 87 percent believe the government should either encourage or require lowering of power-plant emissions, and 85 percent think something should be done to get cars to use less gasoline. Even Evangelical Christians, once one of the most reliable columns in the conservative base, are demanding action, most notably in February, when 86 Christian leaders formed the Evangelical Climate Initiative, demanding that Congress regulate greenhouse gases.


A collection of new global-warming books is hitting the shelves in response to that awakening interest, followed closely by TV and theatrical documentaries. The most notable of them is "An Inconvenient Truth," due out in May, a profile of former Vice President Al Gore and his climate-change work, which is generating a lot of prerelease buzz over an unlikely topic and an equally unlikely star. For all its lack of Hollywood flash, the film compensates by conveying both the hard science of global warming and Gore's particular passion. Such public stirrings are at last getting the attention of politicians and business leaders, who may not always respond to science but have a keen nose for where votes and profits lie. State and local lawmakers have started taking action to curb emissions, and major corporations are doing the same. Wal-Mart has begun installing wind turbines on its stores to generate electricity and is talking about putting solar reflectors over its parking lots. HSBC, the world's second largest bank, has pledged to neutralize its carbon output by investing in wind farms and other green projects. Even President Bush, hardly a favorite of greens, now acknowledges climate change and boasts of the steps he is taking to fight it. Most of those steps, however, involve research and voluntary emissions controls, not exactly the laws with teeth scientists are calling for.

DrMachine
03-27-2006, 02:56 PM
I thought it was wednesday

thatguylobo
03-27-2006, 02:57 PM
Eh. Earth had a good run.

TonyFleecs
03-27-2006, 02:59 PM
I thought it was wednesday
Kickass! the day after tomorrow is new comic day.

DrMachine
03-27-2006, 03:00 PM
Kickass! the day after tomorrow is new comic day.

I'm soooooooooo going to buy some comics

Pat Shatner
03-27-2006, 03:01 PM
The way I understand it, our generation won't be affected by this. It'll be our younglings and their younglings who will have to suffer. I'm not planning on having any children, so all of this climate-change anxiety that people seem to have is just lost on me.

Besides, when our race finally dies out, at least the planet will still be here.

Thomas Mauer
03-27-2006, 03:02 PM
Meh, there was a "small ice age" during the 17th century. While we're certainly speeding the next extreme change in global temperatures along, it's not as if this could be stopped at all. And like roaches and viruses, humanity will survive.

Gavin
03-27-2006, 03:03 PM
Eh. Earth had a good run.
:D

ty gorton
03-27-2006, 03:04 PM
the earth won't stop, it'll just be us. or most of us.

the earth will simply balance out again utilizing whatever elements are in domination, and whatever life form can live in that type of environment will thrive.

cycles of the earth are normal. we're just adding to the process by pumping so much "waste" into the mix.

The Cheap-Arse Film Critic
03-27-2006, 03:06 PM
Actually, the day after yesterday is today...

Gavin
03-27-2006, 03:08 PM
I bet the cockroaches make it. Those guys are really tough.

Pat Loika
03-27-2006, 03:09 PM
I'm going to outlive everything! HA HA HA

P.

Thomas Mauer
03-27-2006, 03:11 PM
I'm going to outlive everything! HA HA HA

P.
3 days till the rise of the Patpire!

Gavin
03-27-2006, 03:13 PM
3 days till the rise of the Patpire!
He rules with an iron fist, so don't try to steal apples from the communal bowl.

DeluxeVoltron
03-27-2006, 03:13 PM
one of my friends did a research paper on global warming and although it didnt fit his thesis he found some sort of evidence that humans contribute to less than a half percent of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere. the rest is natural processes of the earth. he didnt mention his source though and it could have been some of that communist propaganda planted by tobacco companies. just like the dinosaur fossils planted in the soil by satan.

allanpat
03-27-2006, 03:22 PM
The way I understand it, our generation won't be affected by this. It'll be our younglings and their younglings who will have to suffer.

Dude, seriously... QUIT WATCHING STAR WARS!

younglings....