Saturday, July 22, 2006

Global Warming Advances, And Bush Administration Retreats

In both Europe and America, this has been one of the hottest summers in recorded history, and it has also been marked by some unusually drenching storms in areas, like the Northeast, that are not so used to them.

Every week now, we see reports of scientific studies that indicate global warming, caused largely by the burning of hydrocarbons, is intensifying, that Arctic ice caps are melting and that the oceans are (as yet slightly) rising.

Yet the Bush Administration buries its head in the sand like an ostrich, and fails to see the developing global climate crisis. As China and India constantly use more energy, put more cars on the road, just to ameliorate to some extent rising carbon dioxide emissions, the U.S. and the industrialized countries of the West would have to be cutting way back. Yet little or no such cutbacks are taking place.

Indeed, there are constant indications that the Bush Administration is actively seeking to silence those in the U.S. government who would otherwise be speaking on the global warming issue.

Just this Saturday morning, the New York Times reports that NASA's mission statement has been changed to remove the phrase, "To understand and protect our home planet," this ostensibly to focus more on sending manned spacecraft to the Moon and Mars, but also, not so incidentally, to reduce study of the Earth, thus letting global warming occur without so much attention. This is as reasonable as ignoring a cancer.

The costs of all this, not only to future generations, but even our own, may well be immense. Already, in last year's Hurricane Katrina, we saw New Orleans virtually overcome by rising waters. Whole low lying countries like BanglaDesh are imminently threatened, but in Washington, they are in a deep snooze.

Of course, there are a few scientists who challenge that global warming is occurring. But they are in a tiny minority, and weather records kept in a host of places are clear that temperatures are rising.

We see it right here in Los Angeles. June was the second hottest in the 125 years that records have been kept. Woodland Hills has set a new all-time record for days where the temperature was 100 degrees or hotter. Temperatures this summer of 120 degrees in the lower deserts have been common. Major wildfires have occurred. All this just in Southern California.

The climate developments must not be ignored. The New York Times recently published in its weekly Science section an article about some exotic ideas for reducing global warming, including putting huge sunscreens in orbit around the Earth. Since reducing carbon dioxide emissions seems not in the offing, such ideas should be seriously considered. We live in more and more an artificially-created atmosphere already.

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