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October 12, 2005

I vowed I'd never have kids.

-- by Thomas Leavitt

[I didn't want to bring children into a world where the future of the human race and, indeed, life on earth is less than certain... then I fell in love with someone who already had two young children, and abstaining from the future was no longer an option.

I'm a bit older now, and another point now hits home: twenty years (the span of a generation) is the blink of an eye, and that any disaster my children "inherit", I'm likely to be trapped right in the middle of myself. Reading the article below, it appears more likely than ever that my children and myself will be in the same boat.

If there is anyone around to write a history of this era, I have no doubts that it will be a savage indictment of our indifference to the world around us, and our unrelenting and avaricious consumption and profligate waste. -Thomas]

The Heat Death of American Dreams
By Ed Merta
AlterNet.org

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Overshadowed by last month's hurricanes was the news that global warming is likely to accelerate much faster than feared, and it's already begun.

A number of news reports and commentary on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have linked the disasters to global warming. Almost nobody noticed a crucial scientific finding, two weeks earlier, that foreshadows disasters on a far greater scale in the decades to come.

According to August 11 articles in the magazine New Scientist and the British newspaper the Guardian, a pair of scientists, one Russian and one British, report that global warming is melting the permafrost in the West Siberian tundra. The news made a little blip in the international media and the blogosphere, and then it disappeared.

Why should anyone care? Because melting of the Siberian permafrost will, over the next few decades, release hundreds of millions of tons of methane from formerly frozen peat bogs into the atmosphere. Methane from those bogs is at least twenty times more potent as a greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide that currently drives global warming. Dumping such a huge quantity of methane on top of already soaring CO2 levels will drive global temperatures to the upper range of increases forecast for the remainder of this century.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at October 12, 2005 5:48 PM

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Comments

Re kids, I didn't want to bring any into the world either and haven't Thomas! Re the melting of the permafrost, what about the upbeat story in the NYT a few days ago .. No need to worry about a thing really according to those presstitutes!

Posted by: Helga Fremlin at October 12, 2005 10:12 PM

Thanks to the Environmental Creationists occupying the White House, and the Mainstream Mediawhores who enable them, I am grossly pessimistic about our willingness to act against global warming and peak oil.

Until about a year ago, I was optimistic that the prospects for a runaway greenhouse effect were remote. I figured that the primary cause of the planet Venus's runaway greenhouse effect was Venus's long solar day -- 117 earth days. That means that Venus had/has much longer time to get ever hotter and hotter each day, enough to release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere every day.

However, I'm not so sure now. The consequence of a runaway greenhouse effect is, of course, another Venus-like atmosphere -- 90 atm of almost all carbon dioxide. No water, and no possibility of life.

It may be possible that peak oil might slow down or halt global warming. An unmitigated economic disaster is preferable, of course, to the destruction of all life on the earth.

Otherwise, space exploration may be the only way for the human race to survive. But it's too late now for that to work. (It would take literally decades.)

Posted by: John H. Morrison at October 13, 2005 12:52 AM

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