Journal: News & Comment

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
# 11:35:00 PM:

Just burn everything up

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Photo at Flickr.comI've previously pointed to parts one and two of the New Yorker's deep and thorough series on worldwide climate change.

Here's part three, plus a follow-up interview with the author, Elizabeth Kolbert. My favourite quote of hers is from Dr. Marty Hoffert of New York University:Photo at

Right now, we're going to just burn everything up; we're going to heat the atmosphere to the temperature it was in the Cretaceous, when there were crocodiles at the poles. And then everything will collapse.

Photo at

He's not talking about the global ecosystem. That will adapt, as it has to more drastic changes before. He's talking about human society. Kolbert writes herself:

A disruption in monsoon patterns, a shift in ocean currents, a major drought—any one of these could easily produce streams of refugees numbering in the millions. As the effects of global warming become more and more apparent, will we react by finally fashioning a global response? Or will we retreat into ever narrower and more destructive forms of self-interest?

Photo at

I'll let you guess which path we're on today. Think of it next time you fill your tank. I will.


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