Saturday, June 30, 2012

While Colorado burns

Pointed, killer column in the Guardian by Bill McKibben:
Global warming is underway. Are we waiting for someone to hold up a sign that says "Here's climate change"? Because, this week, we got everything but that...
And then goes on to enumerate a list of the record setting weather events of the past week, including the fires in Colorado. Choice excerpt is regarding the Exxon CEO who got a lot of attention this week for saying the world would adapt to climate change and that fears are overblown:
Amid it all, the CEO of the biggest oil company in the world, Exxon, gave what may go down in the annals as the most poorly timed – not to mention, arrogant – speech in the firm's history: Rex Tillerson, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, admitted what his company spent many years denying, that humans were heating the planet. But then he added:
"We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around – we'll adapt to that. It's an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don't … the fear factor that people want to throw out there and say, 'We just have to stop this,' I do not accept."
Against the backdrop of the burning Rockies, it's pretty clear this is not an engineering problem. Engineers, in fact, have performed admirably. One day last month, Germany generated more than half its electricity from solar panels. We've got the technical chops to solve our troubles.
No, this is a greed problem. In the last five years, Exxon has made more money than any company in history. For the moment, Exxon and other's desire to keep minting money – and our politicians' desire for a share of that cash – has conspired to keep our government, and most others, from doing anything to head off the crisis.
And unlike the healthcare predicament, this crisis comes with a time limit. If we play politics for a generation, then weeks like the one we've just come through will be normal, and all we'll be doing as a nation is responding to emergencies. As one scientist put it at week's end, the current heatwave is "bad by our current definition of bad, but our definition of bad changes."
A column with a point that applies equally to Canada. We've certainly got our weather extremes settling in and a government that is not talking about climate change or acting on behalf of our nation to do our part.