Friday, November 7, 2008
Welcome to Reality, Mr. President-Elect
7 November 2008 - Our eight-year interlude from reality draws to a close, and the job of cleaning up begins. The trouble is, we're not just cleaning up after a failed US presidency. We're cleaning up after a two-century binge.
Barack Obama won an historic victory this week, and with it the right to take office under the most difficult circumstances since Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. Maybe more difficult, because while both FDR and Obama had financial meltdowns to deal with, Obama also faces the meltdown meltdown - the rapid disintegration of the planet's climate system that threatens to challenge the very foundations of our civilization.
Do you think that sounds melodramatic? Let me give it to you from the abstract of a scientific paper written earlier this year by one of the people who now work for Mr. Obama, NASA scientist James Hansen. "If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleo-climate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 [in the atmosphere] will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm [parts per million] to at most 350 ppm." In other words, if we keep increasing carbon any longer, the earth itself will make our efforts moot. More >>>