Archive for June, 2007

Jun 05 2007


Published by under penguins

Goodmorning all – it’s Tuesday June 06 2007 here. First, thanks to all those of you who have written. It’s impossible to answer all of you personally – but I do want to say to Dorothy in Aukland that all of the photographs we use have been taken by people photographers not penguins and we always try to give them credit. Flippers, you know what I mean! An opportunity most of the time but a slight problem when it comes to point and shoot.

There is great concern in the Penguin Nation over recent new reports. Where is Penguin5 when you need him?

On May 30 some NASA scientists, led by James Hansen, issued a warning:

“NASA and Columbia University Earth Institute research finds that human-made greenhouse gases have brought the Earth’s climate close to critical tipping points, with potentially dangerous consequences for the planet.”

Here’s where they get a bit technical but … ” From a combination of climate models, satellite data, and paleoclimate records the scientists conclude that the West Antarctic ice sheet, Arctic ice cover, and regions providing fresh water sources and species habitat are under threat from continued global warming … Tipping points can occur during climate change when the climate reaches a state such that strong amplifying feedbacks are activated by only moderate additional warming.”

If I understand it, at this point even a little bit of warming can have a bigger effect than you might imagine.

And they added a photograph from space showing that here in Antarctica more ice melted into the ice than we added by snowfall. You know, of course, that no penguin has ever seen our home from space:



But here are the most important points of all:

“we probably need a full court press on both CO2 emission rates and non-CO2 forcings, to avoid tipping points and save Arctic sea ice and the West Antarctic ice sheet.” and “With another decade of ‘business-as-usual’ it becomes impractical to achieve the ‘alternative scenario’ because of the energy infrastructure that would be in place says Hansen.”

Wouldn’t it be great if scientists spoke penguin? Now remember we don’t play basketball but you’d have to be dead not to know about LeBron and Kobe. And here where teamwork is everything, we especially appreciate Steve Nash and Tim Duncan. Anyway enough of the full court press.

So here goes: take away the scientese and we’ve got 10 years to save the ice. To save our home.

But this is the part that we penguins find so puzzling.

A day later comes this news report:

“NASA administrator Michael Griffin continues to draw the ire of preeminent climate scientists inside and outside of NASA, as well as members of Congress, after apparently downplaying the need to combat global warming.

In an interview broadcast yesterday … Griffin was asked by NPR’s Steve Inskeep whether he is concerned about global warming.

“I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists,” Griffin told Inskeep. “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”

Our ice is melting. Our home is in danger. And the head of your space agency thinks that “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”

Do I sound like Penguin5?

Just a few days, even more evidence appeared. The Independent, a British newspaper – do Americans read British newspapers – published the following report:

“Global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared, a series of startling, authoritative studies has revealed.

The study, published by the US National Academy of Sciences, shows that carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing by about 3 per cent a year during this decade, compared with 1.1 per cent a year in the 1990s.

The significance is that this is much faster than even the highest scenario outlined in this year’s massive reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – and suggests that their dire forecasts of devastating harvests, dwindling water supplies, melting ice and loss of species are likely to be understating the threat facing the world.”

Understating the threat facing the world. That is very hard to believe.

Yesterday, the Associated Press published an article revealing that:

“The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the U.S. is ready to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases.

A confidential report to the White House, obtained by The Associated Press, warns that U.S. scientists will soon lose much of their ability to monitor warming from space using a costly and problem-plagued satellite initiative begun more than a decade ago.”

What you can’t see, can’t hurt you.

Well, time is running out!


Photo: NOAA


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