Inhuman Swill : Ecology

So, over on Facebook I opined that it's now time for Mr. Obama to get his ass in gear about global warming. I further opined that it was time to stop referring to it by the namby-pamby term "climate change" and get back to calling it "global warming." Boy, did that incite some strong responses!

As I said there and will reiterate here, "climate change" may be a descriptive term in a bland way, but it's way too soft and weaselly. "Climate" as a scientific term is just not understood well enough (or at all) by most of us, and "change" is just, well, change. It says nothing about the degree or direction of the change, about whether it's good or bad, and it even leaves some dangerously stupid pundits enough wiggle room to say, "Hey, change is no problem. We'll just adapt."

"Global warming," on the other hand, is direct and scary, and we need to be scared by it. We need to be shitting our pants because of it. "Global"—it affects all of us, everywhere. "Warming"—this identifies the most direct effect of the most critical element of the climate-change equation, to wit that if we keep dumping more and more carbon into the atmosphere, the average global temperature will keep going up faster and faster, leading to every other bad outcome, like increased sea levels, decreased permafrost, increased ocean acidity, increased extreme weather events, and so on. The most important thing we can and must do to stop climate change is to stop that temperature rise.

Now let's all change our underwear and call Congress (202-224-3121) and the White House (202-456-1111) and tell them now is the time to get very serious about halting global warming.

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Roger Ebert throws up his

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Roger Ebert throws up his hands in response to readers who took issue with his review of An Inconvenient Truth:

I cannot get into a scientific discussion here. There will be no end to it. All I can say is, the Gore documentary made a deep impression on me. I urge you to see it. You will not be seeing a "campaign film," or "sour grapes," or "Gore still being bitter." George W. Bush has repeated for six years that global warming "requires more study." If Gore has spent six years studying it, aren't his findings worthy of attention? Yes, I'm "being political." But saying the issue "needs more study" is a political statement when energy groups are among your major supporters and your family is in the oil business.  [full response]
Good point.
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I began thinking about global warming again today, sparked by a posting by Christopher Bigelow—or rather, by a couple of the complacent jackasses who responded to the post. (Sorry if they're friends of yours, Chris.)

While I think it's nice that Time did finally get around to covering the story in a big way, I think the three-part New Yorker series by Elizabeth Kolbert that ran a year ago was much better and should be required reading. Before I lose them again, here are the links to the Kolbert stories:

These stories are remarkable not just for the way they build from a few telling anecdotes to inevitable conclusions of frightening scope, but for the fact that they address what realistic solutions to the problem would consist of. And those solutions are harder now than they were a year ago, and harder a year ago than they would have been a decade ago. These stories should be required reading blah blah blah, but how many people do you know who would be willing to read the equivalent of a small depresssing book about a problem that will change life on Earth in our short spans of time?

Me neither.

A "Talk of the Town" piece by Kolbert from the March 20th New Yorker continues the saga. She details the findings gleaned from two satellites nicknamed Tom and Jerry that measure changes in the earth's gravitational field, and these measurements tell us that Antarctica is losing water at an alarming rate—more than anyone suspected. She concludes:

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