Burning Down Our House

chilee28094the-fury-of-chaiten-volcano-nat-geoAnalysis by Stephen Leahy

QUEBEC CITY, Canada, Dec 15 (IPS)

The roof of our house is on fire while the leaders of our family sit comfortably in the living room below preoccupied with “political realities”.

That was essentially the message from 1,000 scientists from around the world along with northern indigenous leaders gathered in Quebec City for the International Arctic Change conference that concluded last weekend.

“Climate change and its impacts are accelerating at unexpected rates with global consequences,” delegates warned in a statement.

Presenting data from hundreds of studies and research projects detailing the Arctic region’s rapid meltdown and cascading ecological impacts, participants urged governments to take “immediate measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

By happy coincidence, 190 governments were meeting at the same time in Poznan, Poland to do just that: reach an agreement on how much to reduce emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Except that they decided to do nothing. Continue reading

An Inconvenient Truth: Gore Gets It Right on Global Warming

By Stephen Leahy

BROOKLIN, Canada, Jun 20 (IPS)

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth”, is filling theatres across North America – and gets the science right, according to climate experts.

“I saw it last night and was impressed with the climate science presented in the film,” said David Archer, a climatologist at the University of Chicago.

“I left the theatre profoundly depressed because of the political insanity in this country that denies global warming is a concern,” Archer told IPS.

Gore’s personal passion about global warming can be traced to the early 1980s. After losing the election to George W. Bush in 2000, Gore dedicated himself to warning the public about the devastating impacts climate change will have on hundreds of millions of people.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is a 98-minute documentary comprised mainly of highlights from Gore’s high-tech slide show explaining the science documenting global climate change.

Some truths are hard to hear, because if you really hear them – and understand that they are in fact true – then you have to change. And change can be quite inconvenient,” Gore says in the film.

Using an impressive set of graphics, he carefully illustrates changes underway such as receding glaciers, collapsing ice sheets, devastating floods and droughts. One memorable scene shows a graph of carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere going back 650,000 years that varies only a little until fifty years ago when it skyrockets. Gore mounts a motorised platform to lift him up high up the chart so he can place his finger on the current level of CO2. Continue reading