Global warming underestimated

BBC reports that the greenhouse effect may have been underestimated: the amount of particle pollutants we've been releasing is apparently counteracting the greenhouse gases, and as the emissions of these tiny particles is going down, and the CO2 levels going up - the situation may suddenly tip over.

That means a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.

That is unless we act urgently to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.

Considering that there is no snow in Helsinki and the sea hasn't frozen (and it's the middle of January - highly unusual), it may be that we don't have the time to wait for a statistical analysis. It may well be that by the time everyone agrees that there is enough statistical evidence that humans are doing the global warming, we've already created the biggest catastrophy on this planet since dinosaurs were wiped out.

Considering that most of the world's population lives closer to the equator than the UK, the suffering of the past few weeks is nothing compared to what awaits us, as the fields dry out and large masses of people start dying - or migrating to north.

I've many times been angry beyond words at some of the discussion around global warming in Finland. The biggest question is "how is this going to affect us?" and the answer is "well, it's not gonna be so much snow anymore, but on the other hand, our tree industry will work a lot better, and we'll get better crops as well". What kind of inane dribble is that!?! Haven't people yet learned that global warming is a global thing - and the recent events should show that natural disasters touch everyone! What are the Finns going to do, when we see news images of more and more natural disasters, dead people, destroyed homes and famine in unthinkable degree? Are we going to just put our fingers in our ears and hum real loud, pretend it doesn't affect us?

What are the Americans (the most polluting nation in the world, and who have not ratified the Kyoto treaty) going to do? Bomb China for polluting the world?

It's a matter of fear. US government is afraid they'll lose public and corporate support, if they do the right thing and enforce tighter environment laws, which will make lives more difficult to people. The Chinese government, because they are afraid of a revolution, so it's better to try and keep the people under control. The Finnish people are afraid because the "world is bad, and Finland is not", and if we listen too much we might go bad as well. I am afraid because I might have to give up things I really, really like.

Cowards. Every single one.

We have to change. There is no other way. Some have already started.


In Vancouver, there's a lack of respect for the local ecosystem. There are many who believe that global warming is good because it will increase the amount of sunshine here and reduce the number of times people feel they have to vacation in Florida or California or Mexico (name your hotspot). They forget that they are living in a rainforest and that a lack of rain will mean drying trees... and fires!

It's gotten to the point where the weather is a commodity -- a feature for vacation planners if you like. Now we compare our cities and environments to others much as we compare the features/benefits of a mobile phone or an automobile. The respect for place that we need, however, is an understanding of the unique intimacies that are possible between people, communities and nature -- the ones that are only possible when our climate is just *so*.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that we must yearn to know our places much as, when we're in love, we yearn to know and cherish the uniqueness, delights and delicacies of our lovers' bodies. To me, this is what the debate on global warming boils down to: commodification and comparison of climates versus a true love of the nature of the places we live in. Enough said. Thanks for the food for thought, Janne.

--Sanjay Khanna, 15-Jan-2005

I think it's an important question economically as well - the impact of say, streets of New York, being submerged under ten feet of water should not be underestimated...

--JanneJalkanen, 16-Jan-2005

I agree completely. I suppose I'm trying to communicate an idea that could contribute to a mindshift that will allow individuals, businesses, industry and government to harness our considerable energies in the service of solutions. I think this starts from a love of place -- love and caring lead us to defend/protect our places (and people) with economic/environmental solutions. I wonder also: What ideas will help us overcome intransigence surrounding collective action on global warming?

--Sanjay Khanna, 17-Jan-2005

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