An Inconvenient Truth
I saw Al Gore's movie a couple of weeks ago, and I've been thinking about it a lot.
Many Central Floridians, along with all South Floridians and untold numbers around the world, can say their prayers, then kiss their patooties goodbye, if Al Gore is right. And experts say he is.
Between rising sea levels because of polar ice melting and more Category 5 hurricanes, there won’t be much left of the Florida Peninsula.
The cause is global warming, and we have about 10 years to turn the tide. Maybe.
Global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect — all the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning petroleum and coal products to run our power and manufacturing plants, vehicles and homes.
Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere. Heat generated from the sun’s rays warming the Earth’s water and land can’t escape back into space, because it’s trapped by this layer of gas.
With the world population growing exponentially, expected to increase 42 percent from 2003 to 2050 — from 6.4 billion to 9.1 billion — and with Third World countries becoming greater consumers of power, there’s no way power consumption will go down.
The temperature of Earth and its oceans spirals upward. Sea levels rise. The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro and the ice of the Himalayas melt. Lakes and glaciers disappear.
Chunks of ice floating down from the North Pole actually cool waters where the Gulf Stream meets the North Atlantic waters, disrupting the return flow of the Gulf Stream, with disastrous results. Subtropical waters grow warmer, fueling more and more powerful hurricanes: more Katrinas.
In May, National Geographic News took a look at the former vice president’s predictions, with a view to debunking errors, but didn’t find them. See the article online at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060524-global-warming.html.
Instead, scientists confirmed hurricanes and typhoons have become more powerful over the past 30 years — since greenhouse emissions started spiking.
Heat waves will become more frequent, and more deadly. National Geographic reported, “2005 was the hottest year on Earth since the late 19th century, when scientists began collecting temperature data. The past decade featured five of the warmest years ever recorded, with the second hottest year being 1998.”
Deaths from global warming will double in 25 years, to 300,000 a year, extrapolating from the heat wave that racked Europe in 2003.
It’s one thing to make predictions about what could happen in the future; it’s another to endure the consequences, and the movie shows them. We’re living with the results of our actions.
Some areas flood because of melting mountain ice; others turn into dust bowls because of changed weather patterns and water flow. Category 5 hurricanes become routine.
The question is, can we overcome our dependence on big oil companies and others who profit from the current system and who put out disinformation about global warming?
Gore quoted Upton Sinclair, who said “It’s hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding.”
Maybe when most Americans wake up and realize the lives of their children depend on it, they’ll understand. They'll start demanding solar energy and other clean fuels we've had the technology for, but haven't done anything about. We've been passive and apathetic. We've let big oil interests and their cronies continue to rake in billions, while the Earth suffers.
We’d all better understand, and make noise, before it's too late.
Go see the movie.