In celebration of "Earth Day", there will be a special showing of the PBS television program "NOW" with David Brancachio (from National Public Radio). It is about the state of our environment and how political decisions (national and international) are influencing the quality of life on our planet at this time. I think this weekly news show is one of the best available on television and I encourage you to watch and record it (so you can share it with others).
Along this same line, I recently read a book which talks about "The Coming Global Super Storm" created by global warming and the dramatic weather changes we are currently experiencing. The book was written five years ago, but its predictions are proving to be disturbingly accurate. Below you will find some excerpts from the book which describe the authors' theory about what the future may hold for our world.
I hope you find this interesting.
Aloha ... Douglas
Excerpts from "The Coming Global Super Storm"
By Art Bell and Whitney Strieber © 2000
(p.191) The super-storm would be the most visible part of the climate shift that moves us from our current temperate period to another ice age. But it is not the beginning of the process. Many things would have to happen before such an event could be triggered, and they would have to happen in exactly the right sequence. This is why the storm is so rare.
sequence of events is this: There has to be greenhouse warming, and it has to
reach such an extreme that the
When the current ceases to penetrate into Arctic waters, their temperature will drop. This will cause the tropical airflow to stop and will result in cold air, which has been held in the high Arctic, to plunge southward, colliding with the warm air mass that has moved north. The situation will be exacerbated by the extreme cold of the stratosphere, which will greatly intensify the violence of the storms that result.
conditions are met, vast storms will be inevitable. It is possible that they
would form into a super-storm. The evidence from eight thousand years ago is
that global warming reached an extreme similar to the one that is occurring
now. There was a sudden flood of freshwater into the ocean. Already, according
to oceanographers in
When the storm is over, probably within a month to six weeks, the Northern Hemisphere will have sustained enormous damage. In the aftermath, a substantial part of its northern half would be covered with snow, much of it packed to ice, all of it frozen very hard. Depending on the season in which the storm took place, this ice would either form the foundation of another long period of glaciation, or it would melt, resulting in floods of biblical proportions caused by the runoff.
In September of 1998, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
announced that the previous month had been the hottest August on record
worldwide – the eighth in a series of "hottest months". August, NOAA said,
"continued the unprecedented string of record-breaking temperatures". It
appeared that worldwide temperatures in 1998 were about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit
above normal. Temperatures in
(p.201) On dozens of different fronts, human knowledge is expanding at a pace that could not have been imagined even in the past few years. To look back to the seventies or the eighties is to peer into a strange, ancient world, slower and smaller, with horizons so narrow that they now appear almost laughingly constricting. In 1985, you went to a library to do research. You could not fly on a plane without significant expense. A capable computer filled a room. There was no Internet. In fact, our world was far less than it is now, and not only in these ways. When we looked to the future, even the future of science, we could see a clearly defined borderland. Not only that, the environmental situation had a hopeless feel to it. There was a sense of gathering doom, although not one of great danger as is true now.
Nevertheless, mankind did respond to this environmental crisis. And this is what we accomplished:
In 1975, solar energy cost seventy dollars per watt. By 1997, in constant dollars, this had dropped to four dollars per watt. Wind power cost twenty-six hundred dollars per kilowatt in 1981 and was down to eight hundred per kilowatt in 1998. World military expenditures dropped from a peak of a trillion dollars in 1988 to 700 billion in 1996.
In short, just as the environment is challenging our very existence, we are responding with a massive, worldwide, and heartfelt effort to survive, and this has happened despite the fact that the environmental policy of the most powerful country in the world is hobbled by a false debate about the need for it.
[Editor's Note: While the cost of
alternative energy has continued to drop dramatically since this book was
written, sadly, the last trend has been reversed. During the first two years
following George Bush Jr.'s invasion of Iraq, total U.S. military spending
exceeded 1 trillion dollars (more than all the rest of the world combined
during the same period) creating an average annual worldwide expenditure of
approximately $3 billion per day, or $2 million every MINUTE! The Iraq war
alone is costing $1 billion per day.]
[Editor's Note: While the cost of alternative energy has continued to drop dramatically since this book was written, sadly, the last trend has been reversed. During the first two years following George Bush Jr.'s invasion of Iraq, total U.S. military spending exceeded 1 trillion dollars (more than all the rest of the world combined during the same period) creating an average annual worldwide expenditure of approximately $3 billion per day, or $2 million every MINUTE! The Iraq war alone is costing $1 billion per day.]
(p.204) Despite all the success of the recent past, we need to do better. We need a breakthrough. Like all breakthroughs, it will not be expected. It will come from an area now considered part of the fringe. It will consist of either new knowledge or rejected knowledge that has been rescued by a visionary.
There is a possibility that a strange experiment conducted by Nikola Tesla shortly after 1900 could result in a new source of energy. The experiment involved extracting electrical energy from the ionosphere. There is some evidence that the technology was suppressed by oil interests, but it would appear that its return, if workable, is all but inevitable in a world as needful of clean energy as this one.
(p.217) In 1988, Dr. James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies announced that a process of global warming was taking place primarily because approximately one ton of carbon dioxide was being emitted into the atmosphere every year for every human being on earth.
Immediately, oil and chemical companies, some oil-producing countries, religious fundamentalists, and American political extremists responded. Ever since, the forces have been spreading a consistent message: nothing is proven, so we should wait and see. In 1998, the U.S. Congress even went so far as to attempt to prevent government officials from speaking publicly about global warming, in order to derail American participation in the Kyoto conference, the most recent worldwide attempt to address the issue.
The oil industry maintains a propaganda machine called the Global Climate Coalition that spends big money to spread the "wait and see" message. The National Coal Association does the same. The National Petroleum Institute retains a public relations firm to help defeat taxes on fossil fuels. The NPI alone – just one part of the fifty-four member Global Climate Coalition – spends nearly as much as all the environmental funds put together.
OPEC, the consortium of oil producing nations, has joined with big oil companies such as ARCO, Exxon, Sun, Shell, and Unocal to spread the word that fossil fuel emissions should not be controlled.
The fuel industry, backed by foundations with deep pockets, maintains a cadre of individuals with university degrees who skillfully drain the issue of all sense of crisis. Congressional conservative Republicans offer staunchly partisan support, dismissing all talk of this universally important issue as "liberal" posturing. Of course, it really has nothing to do with political ideology. The issue should never have been politicized in this way. It is an issue above politics.
However, the propaganda causes people to feel that they must side with ideological liberals if they are to take a position in favor of solving our environmental problems. It is perfectly appropriate for people of any political persuasion to take the stance that these problems must be solved – especially those of us who have children.
The American public has been misled into taking a "wait and see" attitude, one which amounts to a gigantic gamble, a test of the ability of nature to tolerate punishment.
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