We in Northeast Ohio have what is officially know as a “moderate” climate, which used to mean you froze your nads off about one-third of the year and looked to the sky warily another third.
But things are looking up here on the North Coast: 2005 was the warmest year on record and we who got in on the ground floor property-wise look to reap beaucoup dividends as the formerly gloomy, frosty Rust Belt becomes a balmy haven of negligible winters and five-month long silky summers!
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 30% over pre-industrial stable levels (270 parts per million) to date; but that increase is expected to reach 200% by the middle of the century. Bring on the greenhouse gasses brothers and sisters – easy street, here we come!
Of course not everyone is getting the rosy end of the global warming stick. Millions of acres of Canada’s verdant lodgepole pine forest land is “turning red in spasms of death,” as Doug Struck rather floridly put it a couple of day ago in the Washington Post. The rapacious mountain pine beetle, whose population has exploded with the warming climate, is killing trees at an alarming rate.
The government of (formerly) ice-bound Greenland, the world’s largest island, located on the Arctic Circle between Canada and Iceland, has introduced a hunting quota for polar bears for the first time, as global warming melts the ice cap on which the bears hunt, making it difficult for them to find food.
The South Pacific tropical paradise of Tuvalu, a flat island nation just six feet above sea level is, sadly, very likely a statistic. Experts predict that the sea level, on average, will rise between six inches and three feet over the next hundred years, and rising ocean salt water is already ruining pulaka gardens, the main crop, and eroding coconut trees.
And just yesterday, scientists using data from the joint NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), announced the Antarctic ice sheet decreased significantly from 2002 to 2005. The researchers found Antarctica’s ice sheet decreased by about 152 cubic kilometers of ice (36 cubic miles) annually between April 2002 and August 2005, equivalent to the amount of water the United States consumes in three months. The estimated mass loss raised the global sea level about 1.2 millimeters (0.05 inches) during the survey period.
Oh yeah, and a paper published in Science today predicts that by 2100 lakes and streams on one-fourth of the African continent could dry up due to higher temperatures.
So all that pretty well sucks for them.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said yesterday, “Climate change is not just someone else’s concern but a very real threat to the lives and livelihood of people across the globe.”
But he doesn’t live in the new vacation land of Northeast Ohio.