Monday, September 25, 2006

CNN articles, and a conversation over lunch

Today, what catches my eye is a CNN article that says the Earth may be the warmest its been a million years. The article suggests the area of the ocean that is home to the El Nino's is the hottest, which may presage more extreme El Nino's.
I also had a pleasant lunch conversation over sushi today with a friend, and mentioned this effort. He immediately brought up the idea of the tipping point, and we discussed the possibility that particular events could cause large changes. Some examples are the melting of the permafrost in Alaska or the Greenland ice sheet.
There is a related article that I missed before on CNN that suggests we may be approaching the weather patterns of the dinosaur age, an event likely to contribute to mass extinction. A startling phrase in that article reminds us that these weather patterns disappeared before most life here now evolved.
To me, the most striking observation of the day was from my friend, who said "We don't have the kind of global consensus we had over CFC's." That's an interesting thought. The ozone hole has become smaller since we banned CFC's. We need some consensus.
My reply suggested that there may be more consensus than we think - most of the people I know believe that global warming is happening and would be happy to sacrifice at least some to help stop or mitigate it. The challenge may be figuring out what, exactly, to do.
What do you think?

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