Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Short Subjects: An Optimistic Gore Opines

The environmental movement was formed with the stated mission to solve the climate crisis by reducing the amount of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere to 350 parts per million. On May 9 of this year, CO2 levels at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reached a new milestone of 400 ppm. 

Yet Al Gore, not known for a sunny disposition, expressed hope for the future in an interview with Ezra Klein, published on August 21 in the Washington Post. The link is being circulated by the Climate Reality Project, founded and chaired by Al Gore, a Nobel Laureate as well as former vice president of the United States. 

Read here for Al Gore’s explanation of why he believes we are heading towards major shifts in the global energy marketplace that will speed up the phase-out of coal-based electricity. 

Gore reasons that despite the efforts of the climate deniers, “Reality has a way of asserting itself…And people have noticed for themselves — the rains storms are bigger, the droughts are deeper and the fires are more destructive…people are connecting the dots.”

At this moment, acres of California are on fire. The  “Rim Fire,” burning since August 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest, entered Yosemite Park yesterday. It had nearly doubled in size overnight to encompass an area of 196 miles. [To put that into local perspective, the City of New Haven, CT has an area of just over 20 square miles.] 

California Gov. Brown has expanded the state of emergency he had declared earlier to include the City and County of San Francisco, some 150 miles away from Yosemite. In the area of the fire there are three hydroelectric plants serving the city; the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has already been forced to shut down two of them. Substantial wildfires are also burning in other parts of the state as California experiences its most severe drought on record  — 4.6 inches of rain from January through July of this year. A more usual statewide average is in the range of 12 inches.

Let’s hope the Nobel Laureate is right.

Why Saturday Short Subjects? Some readers may recall being dropped at the movie theater for the Saturday matinee — two action-packed feature films with a series of short subjects (cartoons or short movies, sometimes a serial cliffhanger) sandwiched in between. Often the short subjects were the most memorable, and enjoyable, part of the morning. That explains the name. The reason behind these particular posts is that we are all short on time. My Short Subject posts should not take me as long to write or you as long to read (or try).

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