Still Time, Right? | Freyne Land
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Monday, July 2, 2007

Still Time, Right?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2007 at 9:38 AM

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That's Jay Morin, a City of Burlington recycle man [for the last two years], doing his duty, bright and early on this chilly summer morning here on the South End of the Queen City.

The fundamentals.

Remember, when it comes to plastic - only plastic bottles and containers are acceptable.

Said Whatshisname in a New York Times op-ed Sunday:

Our home — Earth — is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.

Without realizing the consequences of our actions, we have begun to put so much carbon dioxide into the thin shell of air surrounding our world that we have literally changed the heat balance between Earth and the Sun. If we don’t stop doing this pretty quickly, the average temperature will increase to levels humans have never known and put an end to the favorable climate balance on which our civilization depends.

In the last 150 years, in an accelerating frenzy, we have been removing increasing quantities of carbon from the ground — mainly in the form of coal and oil — and burning it in ways that dump 70 million tons of CO2 every 24 hours into the Earth’s atmosphere.

The concentrations of CO2 — having never risen above 300 parts per million for at least a million years — have been driven from 280 parts per million at the beginning of the coal boom to 383 parts per million this year.

As a direct result, many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several “tipping points” that could — within 10 years — make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet’s habitability for human civilization.

Oh, c'mon. We've got more important things to focus on - terror bombing threats and "terror alerts" in countries dominated by white people such as the United Kingdom. Cops and soldiers with automatic weapons at crowded airports is what U.S. TV "news" operations are dishing out. I've seen that burning SUV at the Glasgow airport more times than I can count. But haven't seen a single shot - not one - of the patriotic impeachment protestors at Kennebunkport.

Plus, the CNN Special Investigations Unit feature "Battlefield Breakdown" got bumped from its originally scheduled prime-time showings on both Saturday and Sunday nights. Hey, the incompetence of the Bush Administration in launching its dishonest Iraq War and sending unprepared, ill-trained and ill-equipped American troops into battle is absolutely criminal. I caught an airing at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Not exactly a time for a big audience, eh?

Have an inquiry in to CNN to learn if "Battlefield Breakdown" will yet make it into prime-time as it damn well should!

Meanwhile:

J

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ust in the last few months, new studies have shown that the north polar ice cap — which helps the planet cool itself — is melting nearly three times faster than the most pessimistic computer models predicted. Unless we take action, summer ice could be completely gone in as little as 35 years. Similarly, at the other end of the planet, near the South Pole, scientists have found new evidence of snow melting in West Antarctica across an area as large as California.

This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong. Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours.

We — all of us — now face a universal threat. Though it is not from outside this world, it is nevertheless cosmic in scale.

Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground — having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years — and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun.

It’s the carbon dioxide.

Bummer.

Oh, yeah...Whatshisname is a Democrat named Al Gore. Got the most votes in the 2000 presidential race, but lost the electoral vote count. That means right-wing radio jocks can automatically discount everything Gore writes about global warming and Vermont's Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, who vetoed Vermont's global warming/climate change bill H. 520, won't even be "wasting" his precious ribbon-cutting time reading it.

It's a free country, right?

Hey, there's that burning SUV again, 12th time in the last hour!

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Bio:
Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More by Peter Freyne

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