Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth, Deep Economy, The End of Nature, Enough and founder of 350.orgBill McKibben - Author. Educator. Environmentalist.


The rise of temperature is accelerating at the same time that more gases enter the air. Indeed, the British model now lists the six warmest years on record as, in order, 1988, 1987, 1983, 1981, 1980, and 1986.

One scientist has considered a fleet of several hundred jumbo jets to ferry 35 millions pounds of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere annually to deflect sunlight away from the earth.

Say the global temperature increased, and one result was that the temperature of the ocean went up. The destructive potential of these superhurricanes would grow between 40 and 50 percent.

Scientists have concluded that if a conservative two degree Celsius increase in temperature occurs, the virgin flow of the Colorado River could fall by nearly a third.

If the number of [warm] days increases, so will the mosquito population. To the EPA this means malaria, encephalitis, and dengue fever might break out in the continental United States.

The accelerating rise in temperatures in the years since The End of Nature was published means that 1988 is now the fifteenth warmest year on record. Seventeen of the twenty warmest years have been in the 1990s and 2000s.

Until recently, even discussing the idea of manipulating the global climate artificially to combat rising temperatures has been considered a taboo subject among scientists. However, a survey in 2009 of fifty climate scientists by The Independent found that there was a growing appetite to investigate the idea, an approach supported by a report looking into geoengineering last September by the Royal Society.

From “Global Warming May Pump Up Hurricane Power,” New Scientist, August 1, 2005:

An analysis of data on storm winds and duration shows that potential wind-caused damage has roughly doubled over the past 30 years, although tropical sea-surface temperatures have increased by only half a degree over that time, says Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US.

The frequency of hurricanes seems unaffected by global warming. Regional totals vary periodically, but the number of tropical cyclones around the world averages a steady 90 per year. But Emanuel’s study is the second in weeks to link storm intensity to climate change.

In recent years, the levels of Lake Powell have dropped so far that the magnificent waterfalls and canyons drowned by Glen Canyon Dam have reappeared. Meanwhile, in February 2008 hydrologists reported that at current rates of decline, Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam could be entirely dry by 2021.

By August 2007, the Centers for Disease Control was reporting that dengue fever had gained a “firmer foothold” in south Texas. Worldwide, here’s what The Economist reported in April 2007:

There is no vaccine. There is also no good way to treat it­—just fluids and the hope that the fever will break. At first it seems like a case of severe flu, but then the fever rises, accompanied by headaches, excruciating joint pain, nausea and rashes. In its most serious form, known as dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), it involves internal and external bleeding and can result in death. Fuelled by climate change, dengue fever is on the rise again throughout the developing world.

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