Insights · January 24th, 2007

In his report to the nation on January 23, 2007, President Bush noted the reality of global warming. It was just a line about “global climate change,” with no follow-up, but it was there.

The evidence had just become too overwhelming, even for Bush and his handlers. In just the past week…

…a report on glaciers in the Alps found that it is likely they will be gone by 2050, perhaps earlier. In fact, if the melt continues at current rates the best estimate is 2037. “The future looks rather liquid,” said an author of the report. Meanwhile, to conduct World Cup Ski races in the Alps, organizers make snow on the lower slopes, then use helicopters to carry some of it to higher slopes so that races may take place. This will be no way to run a ski industry in the long run.

Just a couple of years ago, when I spoke to the North American ski industry, they seem perplexed when I suggested that global warming would become their most important issue. No more, as for example Sierra Mountain resorts wake up to the possibility that their ski seasons could shorten drastically or disappear altogether.

…a report on climate change in California noted that a rise in sea level is not theoretical but real. “What we’re beginning to see clearly in California — and these are not projections — is we’ve clearly seen sea-level rise of about a half a foot at the Golden Gate. That’s real data,” said John Andrew, chief of special planning for the state Department of Water Resources. “The snow coming down from the Sierra — earlier snowmelt — that’s real data.”

…a comprehensive report to the State of Washington on the economic implications of climate change warns that:

Washington is especially vulnerable to climate change because of our dependence on snow pack for summer stream flows and because the expected rise in sea levels threatens our coastal communities

Extreme weather, a warming Pacific Northwest, reduced snow pack and sea level rise are four major ways climate is disrupting Washington’s economy, environment and communities.

The time for action is getting short, but the tide is turning. Whether we can do enough, fast enough will be question.

Environment & Energy
Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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