When you have two stories in the front section of the paper (The Birmingham News) about a subject...for instance climate change...you don't even have to read the articles to realize that it is a good thing.
Al Gore (the Nobel laureate) is acting as peacemaker at the U. N. climate conference in Bali, where European Union nations are threatening to boycott an upcoming meeting in the U. S. unless the Bush administration agrees to a compromise regarding reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Without repeating all the numbers here, European nations and others want numerical goals as reference points in curbing global warming. The U. S. refuses to accept the goals, instead just promoting a program that encourages nationally determined voluntary cutbacks.
Gore is urging the delegations to reach a consensus even if it means putting aside specific goals for emissions cuts.
Meanwhile in Denmark, Bjorn Lomborg, a leader of the "climate change contrarians" as they are being called, is claiming that global warming isn't a big threat and that the proposed treaties and carbon emission cuts would cost a lot but provide little help.
"Contrarians," to me is a strange little word that sounds like it should come from "Lord of the Rings" or "Star Wars" or some other fantasy that has a dark side.
I like NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt's response to the contrarians, "Their claim that debate is being stifled has the same credibility as members of the Flat Earth Society complaining about the round Earth mafia."
I first saw Lomborg a month or so ago on "Real Time with Bill Maher" as his book, "Cool It - The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming," was being released. You sort of get the idea that he is most interested in selling books rather than in putting a halt to progressive policies that might help the planet. I mean, he agrees that humans are responsible for climate change and that the threat of rising sea levels is real. He just says lets not do anything about it.
I don't have a problem with him urging leaders to address the problems of AIDS or malnutrition, but Bjorn, we are big guys...we can multi-task.
Take Bangladesh for example.
Which would be better?
a. Reducing poverty such that the populace can afford to better feed themselves only to face the disasterous effects of mass migrations along with flooding and loss of farmland when sea levels rise (one of many links that provide this information ).
b. Reducing poverty such that the populace can afford to better feed themselves and at the same time address climate change with policies that prevent the rise in sea level that will bring such disaster to the country, so that millions of people do not become refugees and can continue to live and farm on their own land.
"The one meter sea level rise generally predicted if no action is taken about global warming will inundate more than 15 percent of Bangladesh, displacing more than 13 million people and cut into the crucial rice crop". That is from the link cited above.
But the contrarians (be very careful...we have one here in our own city of Bessemer) don't care. I mean, if we were to get serious about cutting emissions that might mean we would require less oil, and if we required less oil, who would we go to war against? I think it's OK to lump the contrarians and the war for oil guys together. Let's give them a name...how about...republicans???
And I haven't even even mentioned Story 3 , an article headlined "2007 may be one of warmest years," which states "Within the last 30 years, the rate of warming is about three times greater than the rate of warming since 1900," according to Jay Lawrimore, chief of the climate monitoring branch of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
Contrarians, you will lose this battle. The world does have a future.