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Sun Sep 1, 2019, 11:05 AM

Time is running out to act on climate change...an editorial from the Las Vegas Sun by Harry Reid


Editor’s note: As he does every August, Brian Greenspun is taking some time off and is turning over his Where I Stand column to others. Today’s guest columnist is former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid.

Growing up in the Mojave Desert in the mining town of Searchlight, I never understood the sensitivity of the environment — even as mining ravaged the beautiful desert landscape.

There were holes everywhere. There were tunnels. There were shafts, some vertical and some at various angles. But each was a disturbance of the desert surface. And, to top it off, 99 percent of the diggings produced no gold or other precious metals. It was mostly for nothing.

It was only as an adult that I began to realize the fragility of my place of birth.

Today, the Nevada deserts — along with environments throughout the country and the world — are facing threats much greater than bulldozers, shovels and unscrupulous mining operations. That threat is climate change.

I won’t be around to see the worst impacts of climate change, but my children, grandchildren and countless families around the world will be. They’ll suffer the brunt of this crisis. They’ll bear the burden of cleaning up my generation’s mess.

We can, and must, do better.

read more at https://lasvegassun.com/news/2019/sep/01/time-is-running-out-to-act-on-climate-change/

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Reply Time is running out to act on climate change...an editorial from the Las Vegas Sun by Harry Reid (Original post)
pecosbob Sep 2019 OP
Newest Reality Sep 2019 #1
pecosbob Sep 2019 #2
Newest Reality Sep 2019 #3
The_jackalope Sep 2019 #6
pecosbob Sep 2019 #4
Voltaire2 Sep 2019 #5

Response to pecosbob (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 11:36 AM

1. Running out?

How optimistic. I would note that it has become a common feature to see the scientific predictions revised again and again in regards to the time-frame--they become shorter and shorter. It is too the point that one wonders if there is an organization that is a Consortium of Frequently Shocked and Amazed Climate Scientists. So, I can even feel skeptical about this, "not in my lifetime" form of optimism. That's not for certain and acceleration is in the loop.

I think time it has already run out and there are so many factors involved, all of them revolving around our modern, Koyaanisqatsi way of life and the certainty that it will persist and even continue to grow, despite the obvious results of that. It seems that only when the crises themselves interfere with those trends will there be a change, but, again, it is too late.

We might, at least, be able to mitigate the problem to some degree so that, if the biosphere is not wiped out or rendered largely uninhabitable, we could do whatever we to not increase the incredibly long, (hundreds, thousands of years or longer) recovery period for whom might survive it. My pessimism does not indicate or promote discontinuing any efforts to confront the problems, but we have two issues now and limited resources and will for both.

We seem to be at the point where the Titanic is sinking and the question of lifeboats now comes up. What can we do to deal with the drastic and dramatic effects? This is not going to be a pleasant ride and so, the window of opportunity to abate or prevent the collapse of the environment is now shut and we are left with another potential failure, and that is to hunker down for the catastrophes and address the hosts of issues that will result from them.

To me, it is going to be increasingly about damage control and acting on the requisites of survival in an onslaught of impending environmental chaos. It is already knocking loudly at the door. Will the necessary measures required also become another missed opportunity? It may not be comfortable to think that way, but the indications are pointing to drastic, sweeping measures to cope with the results and limit the damage and suffering to come. It will also be very costly, but if anybody is around to look back on that, the focus on cost will just be seen as misappropriation of resources in a dire emergency. How could anything else take precedence to such a high priority? Well, we seem to be darn good at missing the point in the name of profit and other motivations.

Our track record with creating this mess may be similar to the abysmal lack of action and awareness of what got us here: too little, too late.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 12:04 PM

2. I see the dissolution of many nation-states ahead

as several billion flee low lying areas around the globe the disruption will only make present instability greater and increase nationalistic behavior among the wealthy nations.

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Response to pecosbob (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 12:14 PM

3. Yeah...

The list goes on and on of negative ramifications and outcomes.

Despite my wordy response above, I am also starting to consider just pulling back and leaving the topic alone. Perhaps it is best if people just live more in the present, do what they do, and enjoy what is more immediate in life if they can. There may be coping skills at work here that might be an alternative to the impact of really knowing the details and potential outcomes.

I don't advocate denial or ignore-ance, but, gee, this is vexing and perplexing and there is the qualia of life, not just the quanta, to consider. Things are impermanent, they come, stay awhile and go. Coming to terms in that way is useful and rather Buddhist.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 12:53 PM

6. I also pulled back from significant public commentary a few years ago

Though I was born and raised a strong atheist my preferred philosophical path for these circumstances is Buddhism. Buddhism helps one come to terms with impermanence and the suffering it causes.

We are out of time now because the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere (~700 ppm CO2e) guarantees a long-term temperature rise of 5 to 8 degrees Celsius (from page 12 of Sensitivity and the Carbon Budget pdf). As a result there is no remaining "carbon budget" to be exploited - but we're still burniung fossil fuels and leaking increasing quantites of methane into the atmosphere.

My main concern isn't sea-level rise, though that's what everyone chews their fingernails over. My big concern is that the disruption of the northern polar jet stream will probably damage crop harvests all though the northern hemisphere. That has already begun, and we are only at the very beginning of the real danger zone.

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Response to pecosbob (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 12:21 PM

4. You do have to pick your fights in this life, and I do think it's beyond short-term correction

The inertia alone will prevent the issue from being addressed for decades perhaps. I no longer drive an automobile and avoid superfluous consumption...beyond that all I have are more mostly useless words.

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Response to pecosbob (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 12:31 PM

5. Wrong tense.

Time ran out and we did fuck all about it. We are now in the disaster mitigation phase, and we are likely to do fuck all about that too.

Somewhere around 40% believe, as a matter of faith, that catastrophic climate change is a liberal conspiracy to take away their freedumbs.

We are well and truly fucked.

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