Even Rolling Stone Gets It — Why Don’t We?

October 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Climate Change, Coal, Front Page, Global Warming, Greenhouse Gases, Slideshow

Climate change is all too real. Why aren't we — and our politicians — working to stop it?  Photo: Julia Wasson

Climate change is all too real. Why aren’t we — and our politicians — working to stop it? Photo: Julia Wasson

Once upon a time we had a concept called global warming. Then we had something called climate change — we called it climate change to make it easier to digest, although that didn’t seem to help the many conservatives in government who refuse to admit such a thing is even possible.

With the name change, there’s an added benefit that the temperature can go up or down, hurricanes can blow, and freak weather patterns can appear all under the same broad category of description. But even with melting ice caps, record droughts and any number of outrageous weather patterns, some individuals and organizations are still dragging their feet about climate change. Others are turning an absolutely blind eye.

The Math Gets Real

At this point, that’s just a bit too sheltered for good sense. After all, even a magazine renowned for its musical prowess, Rolling Stone, took a hard look at climate change and what it means for us. With an analysis like this by music pros, there is no reason that scientists, politicians on both sides of the aisle, and manufacturers should still be pretending nothing is going on.

So, what did rock and roll have to say about our climate? Surprisingly, the magazine approached the topic mathematically. Here are the key points:

  • May of 2012 was the warmest May on record for the entire Northern Hemisphere.
  • May of 2012 was also the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th century average. The odds of this occurring were 3.7 times 10 to the 99th power. That’s a pretty small chance.
  • June of 2012 broke or tied a total of 3,215 temperature records throughout the United States.
  • It rained in Mecca this year, Saudi Arabian authorities recorded. The outside temperature was 109 degrees when it rained, marking it the hottest precipitation in the planet’s recorded history.

Sadly, despite notable weather events like this, Rolling Stone went on to report the startling lack of response to even the possibility of change. Our current president — the same one who supports green energy to such a high standards — did not attend the 2012 environmental summit in Rio. President Bush actually went to the first event of its kind back in 1992, although it’s fair to say that not much came out of that meeting other than perhaps a picture of important people smiling together and shaking hands. Political leaders, as we know, tend to pay a lot more lip service to the issue of climate change than actually do anything about it.

President Obama did make it to the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, however. There, a large number of world leaders signed his accord to “cut carbon emissions,” although it included no way to enforce or even check if countries were complying — a noble, if lacking, effort from all leaders. One positive thing did come out of the meeting, however, and that was the limit of where our climate can go. President Obama’s Copenhagen Accord stated that the global temperature could not rise more than two degrees Celsius without disastrous results.

In light of the recent debate over foreign policy between the two presidential candidates, it’s notable that none of the discussion centered on emissions or global warming at all. Obama did remind us of how hard he is working in the different aspects of green energy, which is encouraging for future discussions on the topic. But Romney’s previous comments on global warming — denying that it is a problem or even exists — is of significant concern for anyone concerned about the future of the climate. In fact, where Obama is content to enjoy the status quo in carbon emissions, Romney is pushing for more oil and coal production, both of which would increase emissions and affect climate change even more than our current levels.

The Future of Rock and Roll and the Earth

The Rolling Stone article continued on to explain the impact of emissions, in particular carbon, on the environment to date. Since scientists began measuring, the global average temperature has risen 0.8 degrees Celsius. With that change, we’ve lost 1/3 of the ice in the Arctic, changed the acidity of the oceans and increased the likelihood of flooding.

If you’ve been doing your own math, you’ll realize that there are only 1.2 degrees left that the earth can warm before we hit the threshold. With 87 percent of the CO2-producing countries signing on to the accord, you’d think there would be some work to stem the CO2 production.

Instead, there is additional effort being made to produce more CO2. Currently, the amount of fossil fuels waiting to be discovered, pumped, and refined exceeds the amount the world can create and stay under the 1.2 degrees remaining of the agreed-upon limit.

The math is rather unexpected from Rolling Stone, but it’s very hard to argue with. The numbers are there, and there’s no room for politics in understanding them. All that we can do now is work to help others realize just how dire the situation on Earth is going to become if we continue our current practices — which we do with the blessing of past and present administrations.

Rolling Stone gets it – why don’t we?

Rebecca Garland

Guest Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Rebecca Garland is a freelance writer working hard to populate the Internet with relevant and engaging materials. With advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca enjoys writing about many different topics, including green initiatives like rainwater harvesting for Oasislandscape.com.




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