Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Post 2 on Global Warming Talk

First, a little contrast. I bought two tickets to the Seattle Arts and Lectures series this year - Steven King and Elizabeth Kolbert. The Steven King reading was packed, the patron section (the expensive seats) was at least twenty rows deep from the stage, and people had flown from all over the country to see him.
Seattle is the originating point for the US Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. Many people consider us one of the most activist cities in the US on global warming. Yet the auditorium was not full, and some of the people there were sleeping. It appeared to have been assigned as homework. The patron section was about seven rows deep.

It's too bad that the talk didn't sell out.

One of the most interesting parts of Elizabeth's talk was not new, but was very well-framed. Climate change had many positive feedback loops built into it. That means that global warming begets more global warming. Take, for example, the melting of arctic ice. Ice reflects sunlight and water absorbs it. More ice means cooler temperatures and more water means warmer temperatures. As the ice melts, and there is less ice and more water, the temperatures rises. She gave a number of other examples.

One of her quotes that I like a lot was "People think global warming is just beginning because we are just beginning to see it." The point is that global warming is, in fact, beginning to have consequences that we can see all around us. But those consequences are the result of Co2 level increases that began years ago.

When she went back to update her book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, in the one year that had passed from hardback to paperback publication, not one change was happening more slowly than predicted in the hardback, and many were happening faster.

I bought a copy of her book and I'll review it when I get it read. Since I'm in the middle of a research intensive novel, it make take a little while.


Franke James said...

Hi Brenda -- We're all inundated with news about global warming but how do we get people to stay up to date, and not just tune out? Check out this zoomy green newsreader that we've developed -- that's how I found your blog. I think it makes reading the news about global warming a bit more fun.


Anonymous said...

Our world is in crisis - great post - thanks for your insight - together we can save our planet so future generations can enjoy it too!

P. Lanet III
Concerned Earth Dweller

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