November 12, 2000
7:57 PM   Subscribe

OK, with all of the whining, crying and teeth gnashing over the electoral process interfering with our oh so happy worker bee lives, I've decided to link to something much more important:

High stakes at The Hague

Clinton's climate change warning

'Massive' pollution cuts needed

Since climate change disaster is preparing to bite us all in the ass and no one seems likely to do anything about it, than it doesn't really matter who gets elected president, now does it?

Kudos to the american press for ignoring this story. . .
posted by Mr. skullhead (5 comments total)
Well, let's see... the New York Times has an article; the Washington Post has an article; the Los Angeles Times has a story...

Some ignorance.

posted by aurelian at 10:07 PM on November 12, 2000

I read it on this morning. Everyone else I know read it in the Washington Post online.
posted by Karla at 10:22 PM on November 12, 2000

Okay, so it got covered in passing. It's only one of the most vital issues to affect everyone over the next fifty or so years. I really don't see much discussion or action about it.

For example, Australia has a lot to lose from global warming in the form of reduced rainfall through longer El Nino drought cycles. This is a country already with some of the lowest rainfall on the planet and the most marginal agriculture but its economy relies heavily on primary food production.

Yet, it was one of the most obstructive countries at the Kyoto summit and drew a lot of criticism from other countries for refusing to stop increasing carbon output. That's because the Australian government is in the pocket of the big mining and energy interests.

If this is the attitude of places with the highest vulnerability to cataclysmic climate change, I find it pretty hard to be optimistic.
posted by lagado at 3:12 AM on November 13, 2000

There was an interesting piece in this month's Wired on using phytoplankton fertilization to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Basically, you dump iron into the ocean (actually, you more like sprinkle it on the surface), which accelerates the growth of plankton; they absorb literally tons and tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in their rapid growth. The guy who invented the technique reportedly sucked an estimated 2500 tons of CO2 from the air during a recent trial involving 1000 pounds of iron, and claims the technique could zero out all human carbon emissions if applied to about 11% of the ocean on a regular basis. As an added bonus, the technique could boost fish yields in highly-fished areas because the plankton is effectively fish food.

The ecological wisdom of dumping tons of iron into the ocean is admittedly questionable -- and the decaying biomass of all that plankton, if it's not eaten by fish, could result in higher levels of methane, which is apparently even worse than CO2 -- but people are looking for solutions. Even if this specific technique doesn't turn out to be workable, it's hardly too late. The human race will find something to save our collective ass. We always have before. On most things regarding the human race, I'm a pessimist, but there are a sufficient number of smart people on the planet working on this problem to make me cautiously optimistic.
posted by kindall at 8:48 AM on November 13, 2000

The recent floods in Britain, combined with the ongoing debate on fuel duty, has heightened the debate over here on greenhouse emissions from fossil fuels. Do we want cheap petrol and higher river levels year on year? Is it really a zero-sum game?

At least we're attempting to reach our Kyoto targets. But somehow I don't think technology will help us too much now.
posted by holgate at 9:26 AM on November 13, 2000

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