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The North Pole ice cap is melting, and it's melting fast.  It is melting much faster than what climate models predicted just a decade ago.  The longer we play the, Yes Global Warming is happening, No it isn't, yes it is, no it isn't, game with the Republican moron puppets of the fossil fuel industry, the more your children are at risk of experiencing a collapse of civilization.

The news of the North Pole sea ice extend below the fold.

First a couple of diaries about the sea Ice extent from Boatsie and jamess, rec them both.

From Yahoo News

In a critical climate indicator showing an ever warming world, the amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to an all-time low this year, obliterating old records.
...

"On top of that, we're smashing a record that smashed a record," said data center scientist Walt Meier. Sea ice shrank in 2007 to levels 22 percent below the previous record of 2005.

...

"On top of that, we're smashing a record that smashed a record," said data center scientist Walt Meier. Sea ice shrank in 2007 to levels 22 percent below the previous record of 2005.

And from the National Snow and Ice Data Center
On September 16, Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached its minimum extent for the year of 3.41 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles). This is the lowest seasonal minimum extent in the satellite record since 1979 and reinforces the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent.

...

This year’s minimum was 760,000 square kilometers (293,000 square miles) below the previous record minimum extent in the satellite record, which occurred on September 18, 2007.  This is an area about the size of the state of Texas. The September 2012 minimum was in turn 3.29 million square kilometers (1.27 million square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum, representing an area nearly twice the size of the state of Alaska. This year’s minimum is 18% below 2007 and 49% below the 1979 to 2000 average.

This is serious shit folks and we've got to stop messing around.  We've seen the extreme craziness of our weather, and the civilization we've built around a stable climate won't stand if we don't start doing something to stop this, now!

James Hansen likes to use the analogy of loaded dice to demonstrate how the chances of having an extreme weather event caused by global warming are increasing rapidly.

We've seen the Wall Street casino and what it can do to the worlds economy, but that is absolutely nothing compared to what will happen if we continue to turn our climate into a giant Casino.

President Obama has stepped forward on a couple of politically difficult issues this year.  It's time for him to bring this up in the debates and in his campaign speeches.  It's vital to our survival as a nation, and it's a winnable political issue to hammer the Republicans with.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's the issue that dwarfs all issues. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, mightymouse, jamess, bear83

    It deserves a place at the top of the agenda for everyone's sake.

    Can't wait to hear Mitt discuss environment at the debates and thread the needle between the anti-science climate deniers and everyone else.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 05:17:28 AM PDT

  •  Santa Claus (4+ / 0-)

    Looks like he needs to build an ark.

    If you have more than you need but don't have empathy you must be a republican.

    by Cecile on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 05:24:47 AM PDT

  •  dealing with the CO2 problem (5+ / 0-)

    could be/should be the Economy Growth-engine

    of the 21st Century.


    If only disaster insurance,

    could be turned into proactive prevention.


    Are you ready to Vote? Are you still 'allowed' to Vote?
    -- Are you sure?

    by jamess on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 05:25:05 AM PDT

  •  Neither candidate is going to initiate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, mightymouse

    a dialog about climate change and/or the loss of arctic sea ice.  At most we will get the usual blather about climate change is real (from Pres. Obama) or maybe climate change is real (from Gov. Romney).  Pres. Obama may expand on his answer that we need "all of the above" to turn climate change around, which includes green tech, but also natural gas and fracking, and not giving up on "clean coal" tech.  On the other hand Gov. Romney will state that innovative tech will keep climate change under control, and that open oceans in the arctic will mean we (Americans) need to quickly utilize that opportunity to dig out what fossil fuels lie in the ocean beds up there.  And in case no one has noticed, China, Russia, Canada and some other countries are licking their chops to get at that oil and gas.  So the next four years are going to resemble a new "gold rush" as many countries jockey to claim as much sea extent as possible.

    •  Who will go after ALT-E, Obama not Romney (0+ / 0-)

      IMHO, by subsidizing and promoting ALT-E, including battery technology, we have a chance of making ALT-E cheaper than going to the ends of the earth to try and squeeze the last drops of oil out of the earth.

      What's happening to the Coal industry now, could happen to Oil/gas, if we push ALT-E hard enough.

  •  Extent is not the key figure (4+ / 0-)

    If you really want to know about the Arctic melt, you need to look at the figures for volume.  Volume, which is extent times thickness, is a harder figure to arrive at, because you need to have a good set of thickness observations as well.  But there are scientists in the business of making observations about thickness and who have a handle on the total Arctic ice volume as well.  The picture they paint is even more dire.

    Minimum sea ice volume is down to around a quarter of what it was in the 1980s.  Mathematical extrapolations of the observed data project that in 2015, the minimum volume will reach zero -- as in all the sea ice will have melted. These same extrapolations predict that by the end of the decade, the Arctic will be ice free from July into November.  (Data can be found here: https://sites.google.com/...)

    I am convinced that it is too late to save the Arctic Ice Sheet as we have known it throughout human history.  What we need to do is to adapt to a much warmer world.  For example, since we know that no Arctic ice cap implies weaker Rossby waves to drive the Jet Stream, and that implies we are in for more droughts and more flooding, we need to respond by improving water chatchment and management infrastructure.  Those floods on the Missouri in summer 2011?  They should have been impounded and saved for the summer drought of 2012.

    As the saying goes, "may you live in interesting times".  The rest of the decade promises to be very interesting.

    •  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      To believe we can adapt to Global Warming changes, is to believe we even understand what those changes will be.  There are a lot more changes to come that we can't even anticipate.  How will we adapt to a billion people migrating from their devastated countries and overwhelming the support systems of countries that are fairing well?

      •  As I said, it will be interesting times (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        A lot of the change that can be anticipated isn't being planned for.  The Burj Dubai?  All those tall buildings in Shanghai?  How far above current sea level are they? Answer: not enough.

        Those billion people ARE going to move.  How prepared are the rest of us going to be when they do?

      •  would have been worth . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher

        We're way past "prevention" now. Way way way past.

        Take a lot of pictures, so the greatgreatgrandkids can see the world that they should have inherited . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:32:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Clearly not enough is happening (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, mightymouse

    due to Republican efforts to deny the human impact of climate change, plus their effort to derail the economy by allowing the Production Tax Credit to expire at the end of the year. This is a potential death-blow to wind projects in the U.S.:

    ...extending the PTC for four additional years would result in 95,000 wind-supported jobs and $16.3 billion in investment by 2016. However, failing to immediately extend the PTC would result in the loss of more than 37,000 American jobs and $10 billion in investment in 2013.
    http://www.awea.org/...

    However, Obama does deserve credit for the actions he has taken that will reduce carbon emissions:
    - The increase in CAFE standards:

    Announced last year by President Obama, the standards will require a fleet-wide average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, and will operate on a gradual scale.The new targets are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons by 2025, as well as near-doubling the fuel economy of many vehicles.
    http://www.motorauthority.com/...

    - The Interior Dept / BLM has fast-tracked multiple alternative energy projects on federal lands.
    - EPA regulation of coal plants is finally taking some of the costs - socialized to the environment in the past - back on the power companies. This has made many of the older (dirtiest) coal plants uneconomical, causing them to shut down.

    Progress plans to retire 11 coal-burning units at four sites in North Carolina by 2013. Those units will be replaced by three gas-burning plants, one of which went online this year. Natural gas produces about half the greenhouse gases of coal...
    http://www.newsobserver.com/...

    - The stimulus bill provided millions for alternative energy projects and research.

    Clearly more needs to be done. Electing a Democratic Congress is the place to start.

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 06:14:11 AM PDT

    •  Obama's ledger is mixed (0+ / 0-)

      CAFE stds - good. but down the road.

      replacement of coal for electricity. OK, I guess. this is probably driven by cheap natural gas (from fracking) and cost of running old plants as anything else.

      support for alternative energy - good.

      sale of US coal. bad. no reason at all for this.

      public leadership. bad. there has been none, really. without that, we don't move forward imo.

      we are a long way from addressing the climate crisis. the positives in Obama's record are minor in the scale of what has to happen.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 08:19:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In an ideal world (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, pollwatcher

        Where Obama is re-elected, Democrats hold the Senate and re-take the House, all are motivated to deal with climate change, and the Supreme Court stays out of the way, what needs to happen? What are the specific policy changes that are needed?

        NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

        by bear83 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 08:43:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  excellent question! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83, pollwatcher

          I wrote a diary about it once ...

          basically -

          1) Leadership, education, building of consensus.

          This is our World War II. Climate change poses a dire existential threat. We have to get serious.

          Recall that in WWI USA, USSR, and UK completely changed their economies. This was largely supported by the people, because they understood why things had to change.

          Right now in the US (and elsewhere) that widespread understanding does not exist. So establishing that is job #1. That means presidential leadership (see FDR's speeches 1939 on), effective communication by the government (witness WWII propaganda - crude -  but it taught people who the enemy was), and so on.

          There is a great link on climate communication up on climate progress today. A snippet:

          Message: We can’t ignore the increasingly severe weather: It’s already causing billions in damage and looks like it’s only getting worse. We owe it to our kids to protect them and their futures, and that means addressing climate change before it becomes irreversible. Running away from tough problems only makes them worse.  That’s not how America works. We need to implement common sense strategies now. We know what’s right, we know how to implement clean energy solutions, and we know that reducing fossil fuel dependence will make America stronger. It’s time to step up and get it done
          2. Carbon fee.

          We have to stop using fossil fuels. That will only happen if they are made to expensive. You need public understanding to enact this. I favor the fee and dividend approach, but anything is better than what we have now.

          3. Massive public support for alternative energy & conservation. this would include transportation, agriculture, etc.

          down the road, after we clean up our act, we can look at sanctions for problematic countries, like if China keeps burning coal at the current pace.

          So that's three or four things. For it to be workable, people need to buy into it. So for me leadership and messaging from the president on down is essential.

          thanks for the opportunity to expound.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 09:44:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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