Sunday night, CBS New's program 60 Minutes had a major segment on the subject of Global Warming. Entitled A Global Warning they did a very good job of making a visual presentation of the effects of Global Warming. While you might discount words, it is much harder to discount the photographic evidence that significant change is happening and at an accelerated rate. The question now is whether or not we are going to head that warning.
Within the same week, LinkTV, an internet TV outlet, is running a special 4 hour series on Global Warming. While the names of the participants are big drawing cards in the environmental community, Dr. David Suzuki is featured in one, this will not have the reach of the 60 Minutes show but it will speak to those who are already involved. These are on tonight and again on Wednesday eveing.
One of the problems that we have to overcome is getting the message that Global Warming is a scientific fact into the main stream consciousness of the US electorate. As long as the conversaton stays on Link TV, we are suffering from the balkanization of the media, where small groups of people who already agree with each other keep passing the same message back and forth. Maybe, the fact that this got on to 60 Minutes is the first step in changing all of that.
The second challenge is to combat the false dichotomy that has been established in the American consciousness in which being pro-environment means being anti-economic growth. This view is behind that fact that the current administration puts more money into scientific research on Global Warming than any other, but refuses to take any steps toward solving the problem that might involve "American economic competiveness."
The San Jose Mercury News featured Global Warming in an editorial today.
With new, alarming headlines about global warming arriving daily, and with the Bush administration choosing to bury its head in the sand, it's a good thing California and other farsighted states are taking this global threat seriously.
Last week, the state's Public Utilities Commission voted to go forward with a plan to establish a mandatory cap on emissions of greenhouse gases for the state's electricity generating utilities. It was the latest of several measures established under the leadership of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to address California's contributions to global warming.
The San Francisco Chronicle has run a series of stories on Global Warming within the last week. I will quote a bit from each.
Glaciers are our business
Michael Oppenheimer, a climatologist at Princeton University, said the participation of businesses in efforts to address global warming is absolutely essential.
"It can't happen without the business world," he said. "This is where decisions have to be made about how to reduce emissions, even if the government decides when."
The Greenland glacier data clearly illustrate that time is running out.
Alarming data on Greenland's glaciers: Warming trend indicates faster rise for Earth's oceans
While sea-level increases of a few feet may not sound like very much, they could have profound consequences on flood-prone countries such as Bangladesh and trigger severe weather around the world.
"The implications are global," said Julian Dowdeswell, a glacier expert at the University of Cambridge in England who reviewed the new paper for Science. "We are not talking about walking along the sea front on a nice summer day, we are talking of the worst storm settings, the biggest storm surges ... you are upping the probability major storms will take place."
Saving the Earth can also bring profit to startups
Russ George wants to turn a profit from global warming. And he thinks algae is the way to do it.
Don't laugh. Now that Europe has opened a market based on carbon dioxide emissions, it could work, he insists.
George and his Foster City startup, Planktos, plan to create huge algae blooms at sea that will suck some of the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere, then sell credits to European companies unable to meet their emissions targets.
Here is the point. The issues behind global warming are into the media, and not just in an alarmist mode. We still see very little concern on the part of the general public. I monitor some forums on a regional newpaper (Contra Costa Times) where the conversation on global warming is basically one of denial. The people who post are quick to use ever winter storm, such as we currently have with record cold in N. California this week, to down play the idea that Global Warming exists. Why? Because if they admit that it is real, they just might have to do something about it.