Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Maybe a tipping point?

With respect to climate change, "tipping points" are when positive feedback mechanisms start to run out of control and amplify effects, regardless of whether human emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase. For example, as the arctic permafrost thaws it release C02 and methane; as the sea ice melts the open water absorbs heat from the sun instead of reflecting it back as ice does; as glaciers start to thaw the meltwater runs down underneath and lubricates their slide to the sea.

All of that is happening. But there does seem to be a bit of good news: The corporate media is finally starting to catch on that this is not a legitimate controversy. Until approximately now, every story that mentioned anthropogenic climate change (and they were few and far between) had to feature a he said/she said exchange between legitimate climate scientists and corporate-funded frauds; and an explicit denial that any particular weather event could be linked to climate change.

Those impregnable requirements finally seem to be disintegrating like the West Antarctic ice sheet. Even the New York times is, at long last, giving up its policy of being Fair and Balanced about this phony controversy.

Is it too much to hope that the Koch brothers billions can no longer bury the truth? Just as the effort by the North Carolina legislature to declare the sea not rising was immediately rebuked by reality, their lies are going up in flames with the Colorado forest. The legislature can't repeal the law of gravity and the Koch brothers can't buy an alternate reality. How long it might be before this matters for public policy I cannot say. But it's a start.

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