The Canary Has Died

No More Denial
Over 1200 scientists from 150 countries have reached consensus that global warming is real and that it is caused by human activities. Dr. James Hansen, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA, says we need to cut our atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide to 350 ppm or less by 2016 (just two years from now) if we are to avoid the most catastrophic and dangerous effects of climate change, such as:  disrupted food and water supplies; the extinction of thousands of species of plants and animals; and sea level rises that would flood the homes of hundreds of millions of people.

Just last year two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.  Now, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally is saying at the current rates of melting “the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012″.

Why should we care?  “The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming,” said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. “Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines.”  Read more here.

The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis:
A Human Impact Report on Climate Change by the Global Humanitarian Forum.

Did You Know …
Flooding and Rising Seas . . .

  • A 1-ft. rise in sea level could erode beaches 50-200 ft. along most of the US Atlantic coastline, 200-400 ft. along the California coast, and several miles along low-lying Louisiana.
  • A 20-inch sea-level rise could eliminate 17-43% of US coastal wetlands, with an even greater loss if shorelines are protected by structures that prevent wetlands from migrating inland.
  • A 3-ft. rise would flood 7,000 square miles of dry land – an area the size of Massachusetts!
  • 20-ft. rise is possible if Greenland’s ice sheets melt, which would submerge cities across the world, from LA to London, and a good part of Florida.

Drought and Starvation . . .

  • The lack of rain for four straight years has pushed 23 million peoplein east Africa to the brink of starvation.  Drought is nothing new to this part of the country, but what is different is that it is now almost constant.
  • The spread of HIV/AIDS, the privatization and general lack of resources, increasing poverty, population growth, and conflict leave many African nations poorly equipped to absorb the effects of weather extremes.

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