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* Climate change activist Ted Glick was sentenced in Washington DC yesterday to $1,100 fine, one year probation, and 40 hour community service for helping to drop two banners (Green Jobs Now and Get to Work) in a U.S. Senate office building. In his statement Ted talked about the escalating reality of global warming.
I’ll begin with a quote from a March 4th, 2010 press release from the U.S. National Science Foundation. It concerns the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas 70 times as strong as carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere. This release begins:
“A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team. . .
“The research results show that the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane, is perforated and is starting to leak large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”
This melting of frozen methane on the sea floor is one of several climate tipping points that scientists have long identified as of great concern. The others are: the release of methane frozen in the permafrost in the earth’s northern latitudes, the accelerated melting of the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets such that sea level rise would be much more rapid than currently expected, and the drying out of the Amazon rain forest because of drought and the release of much of the estimated 120 billion tons of carbon sequestered there.
What is a climate tipping point? It’s a point at which there has been so much heating up of the atmosphere that we experience drastic and runaway heating with truly catastrophic implications for the whole world, especially for the poor people of the world who are most vulnerable to respiratory diseases, heat stress, droughts, floods, major storms, water scarcity and disruption of agriculture.
* In the meantime, instead of dealing with these harsh environmental realities facing us, most governments continue on their break-neck pace of militarization. It appears to me that they are accepting the coming climate change and marshaling their forces to be in competition for declining resources like water and oil. This alarming trend, unless interrupted by coordinated global citizen activism, will certainly ensure fight-to-the-death scenarios all over the planet.
Instead our governments should be taking frantic and coordinated international efforts to reshape our fossil-fuel dependent economies. This can only be done by converting the military industrial complex. I am still astounded that most key environmental groups are not articulating this absolutely obvious strategy for survival. But then I shouldn’t be surprised, many peace groups are not either.
* Russia is again sounding the alarm about U.S. deployments of “missile offense” systems in Poland. On July 3, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Polish counterpart signed amendments to the Bush-initiated agreement on these deployments which will be about 35 miles from the Kaliningrad, Russia border. “We are convinced that neither presently nor in future there were missile threats to justify that an anti-missile defense system must be deployed near Russian borders,” a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.
This deployment agreement indicates Obama’s priority. Despite his lip service to dealing with climate change he is continuing the military encirclement of Russia and China. And sadly, the Democrats in Congress follow him over the cliff like lemmings.
* There are quite a few articles appearing in various Washington political journals saying that the Democrats will likely take a severe beating in the House of Representatives during the November elections. This is largely because the Dems “base” is highly disillusioned by Obama and their party leadership’s strategy of saying one thing but doing another. The base is going to stay home or look for alternative candidates. At the same time the Republicans are getting their base fired up and organized. Expect some last minute “show boat” attempts by the Dems to reel their base back to the voting booth but it will be too little and far too late.
* On the plus side my tomato plants like the heat. They are doing quite well. But I’d rather have the usual cool Maine summers than this stifling heat.