Ah, what a cheery world we live in! Let’s start with the tanking international economy, which in the U.S. has resulted in another spate of job losses that are now cutting into the service sector. Normally when a place like Caterpillar lays off employees, the axed can get jobs at Home Depot. But not when the latter company has also shed 7,000 workers of its own. I guess there’s always McDonalds. . .
The silver lining to this cloud (dense with carbon emissions) is that our current economic horrorshow is not likely to matter much in a thousand years. Which is just about how long experts are predicting it’ll take to bounce back from global warming. NPR:
Climate change is essentially irreversible, according to a sobering new scientific study.
As carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, the world will experience more and more long-term environmental disruption. The damage will persist even when, and if, emissions are brought under control, says study author Susan Solomon, who is among the world’s top climate scientists.
So that means we can burn all the fossil fuels we want, right? Not exactly.
If we continue with business as usual for even a few more decades, she says, those emissions could be enough to create permanent dust-bowl conditions in the U.S. Southwest and around the Mediterranean.
“The sea level rise is a much slower thing, so it will take a long time to happen, but we will lock into it, based on the peak level of [carbon dioxide] we reach in this century,” Solomon says.
The idea that changes will be irreversible has consequences for how we should deal with climate change. The global thermostat can’t be turned down quickly once it’s been turned up, so scientists say we need to proceed with more caution right now.
The article doesn’t mention cloud-seeding or other proactive attempts to go beyond “carbon zero” and readjust the climatic balance through geoengineering. Of course, we humans don’t have a great track record of “fixing” things without creating an avalanche of unintended consequences. Sort of like our oversight of the global financial apparatus.
Just something to think about when you’re looking at your overextended credit balance and eviscerated 401K. . .