30 August 2005

Global warming? Just turn up the A/C.

The AP recently published a list of the 15 most destructive (in financial terms) hurricanes and tropical storms. Alarmingly, 4 of the 15 happened in one year — 2004.

Now, I hear many people say that, OK, global warming is melting some glaciers and parts of the icecaps, but things don't seem warmer, really, and besides, how about that record cold snap, huh? Doesn't that prove it's nothing to worry about?

Now, with global warming we're only talking about a couple of degrees increase in temperature. You're not going to, say, find your pool boiling away. The big thing about global warming is that it represents an increase in the average temperature of the earth, and that is a very big deal, because raising the earth's temperature by a degree or two represents a huge amount of energy. That energy drives weather, so what you'd expect from global warming, at least initially, is a large increase in the violence of the weather.

And that's just what we're seeing. This year alone, we've had three times as many major storms as in an average year. As pointed out above, more than 1 in 4 of the most destructive storms happened last year.

Worst of all, there's nothing we can do to stop this now. Even if the entire world today became as green as green can be, things will still get worse for many years to come. Let's hope that things start getting better before we're all blown away.
Some of them were angry
At the way the earth was abused
By the men who learned how to forge her beauty into power
And they struggled to protect her from them
Only to be confused
By the magnitude of her fury in the final hour
— Jackson Browne, Before the Deluge

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