Tuesday, June 4, 2013

400 PPM

The New Yorker (May 27, 2013) notes the passing of the 400 PPM marker, the line we dared not cross. As Elizabeth Kolbert notes, “No one knows exactly when CO2 levels were last this high; the best guess is the mid-Pliocene, about three million years ago. At that point, summertime temperatures in the Arctic were fourteen degrees warmer than they are now and sea levels were some seventy-five feet higher.” Maureen Raymo, a marine geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told the Times, "It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster."

Kolbert goes on to comment on the Keystone XL pipeline which President Obama has still not decided upon. Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, came to New York to pitch the idea. He told the Counsel on Foreign Relations that he was sure the Obama administration, “will do a thorough analysis before arriving at the right decision.”

This is a chance for Canada and the U.S. to really help move the inevitable march toward disaster along. It isn’t often that Canada takes the lead in endeavors such as this, but we should not idealize Canada too much, besides their health care and the fact that they are a million times more rational than we are, they are still capitalist at heart, willing to make a buck at any price.

Kolbert’s piece is hopeful, as all such publications are required to be. She says the Keystone is not inevitable and it should not be built. She is right, the Keystone is not inevitable. Our demise, on the other hand, is inevitable but that doesn’t mean we should go ahead with the Keystone XL.

Insanely crazy notions abound and they need to be opposed, but not by people who believe rationality will somehow prevail over irrationality. Progress is the only thing that will prevail. We cannot mobilize our global society to stop the massive global catastrophe that is upon us. Blow will follow upon blow until we have been beaten senseless. In the mean time, resistence is all we have. Think of the Warsaw Ghetto fighters. You fight to the end because that is what human beings do. We fight for our right to exist.

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