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,â€ 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,â€ 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.