S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Storms know no borders

The wind blows the trees in my neighbor's yard as well as mine. Shifting Tectonic plates obscure artificial national boundaries. The earth's climate consists of a single system. A wise Chinese writer reminds us of this with the headline, "Climate - a problem for all nations." Liu Shinan (China Daily 2007-09-12). To quote from his article,
Global warming is sounding an acute alarm. Various disastrous consequences will ensue as the earth's climate grows warmer and warmer. Oceans will rise to submerge large expanses of land. Floods and droughts will increase to cause more human and economic losses. Agriculture will be impacted to aggravate hunger in Africa. Diseases and viruses will become more capricious to control. More species will become extinct. All these changes will find their final consequences in the human race's economic, social, cultural and political lives, resulting in a more turbulent world.

. . . It has to be pointed out that the global warming is largely the result of developed countries' industrialization during the past two centuries. They contributed 95 percent of the CO2 emissions during the 200 years before 1950 and 77 percent from 1950 to 2000. They should undertake their historical responsibility. What is more, their current per capita emission levels are still higher than that of developing countries.

. . . Global climate changes have left us little time to dawdle. And to tackle climate change is no less important an issue than the anti-terrorism campaign.

Storms of war distorted U.S. priorities. The war in Iraq has dominated the thinking of the current administration to the detriment of many crucial national programs, including climate research. The other factor with global warming was a kind of purposeful ignorance and denial that there is even a problem, coupled with the ineptitude that has characterized the Bush administration. A recent independent study revealed how far behind we are compared to the rest of the world. Andrew C. Revkin at the International Herald Tribune (9/14/07) wrote that, "U.S. climate research program hampered by delays, panel says." To quote,
A government wide climate research program started five years ago by the Bush administration has been plagued by delays and has not devoted enough resources to studying the effects of climate change or to disseminating the findings, an independent scientific panel has found.

. . . The Climate Change Science Program, created in 2002 by President George W. Bush to improve climate research across 13 government agencies, has also been hampered by priority shifts, the panel found. Those shifts have led to the grounding of Earth-observing satellites and the dismantling of programs to monitor environmental conditions on earth, the report concluded.

. . . A major hindrance to progress, the panel's report said, is that the climate program's director and subordinates lack the authority to determine how money is spent.
Our current president's (OCP's) decision to cross the border of Afghanistan into Iraq in 2003 began a disastrous decline in foreign relations with the European Union. And it may take years for the stormy relationship of the U.S. with the nations of Europe to get back to normal. Though the war and OCP himself have contributed to fraying of our traditional linkages, global warming is also an issue with Europeans. Germany's Deutsche Welle (9/7/07) has this story: "Survey Pinpoints Iraq, Bush as Main Reasons for US-EU Rift." To quote,
A new poll has found that US-EU ties are unlikely to recover even after the election of a new American president next year. At the same time, most Europeans favor cooperation with the US in dealing with global threats.

The results, published Thursday this week, point to two overarching reasons for continuing European skepticism towards America and its policies -- the Iraq war and President George W. Bush.

. . . Global warming topped the European list of biggest fears at 85 percent. Despite popular perception in Europe that the US has done little to curb climate change, 70 percent of Americans said global warming was likely to affect them.
When NASA's international crew rockets to the International Space Station in October, they will be unable to make out any national borders from space. The STS-120 mission will be to install the Italian-made Node 2 connecting module to the ISS. The choreographer of the space walks will be the European Space Agency's astronaut Paolo Nespoli. They will observe various kinds of good and bad weather as they rapidly traverse the globe. One of the more interesting NASA missions is called NEEMO. Astronauts live and train in the Aquarius habitat off the coast of Florida. They completed Mission 12 of the NEEMO series in May of 2007. NASA explains, "Aquarius provides a convincing analog to space exploration, and NEEMO crew members experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater as they would in space."
The earth's climate drivers are its oceans. The seas of Earth are in many ways as unknown to us as Space has been. But that is -happily for all of us - going to change for the better. Felicia Mello of the Boston Globe was published in the International Herald Tribune (9/12/07). Her interesting news story was headlined, "Scientists to build global network of underwater laboratories." To quote,
. . . over the next five years, scientists from around the world will design and build a global network of underwater laboratories, including one in the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Massachusetts, that capitalizes on advances in satellite, Internet and sound wave technology. In an effort that scientists involved in the project liken to the race to put a man on the moon, the Ocean Observatories Initiative will for the first time give scientists a permanent virtual presence in the sea.

. . . While much of the force behind the initiative stems from concern about global warming, the collapse of fisheries, blooms of dangerous algae that contaminate seafood and advances in deep-sea oil drilling have also led to increased interest in the oceans, [Bohlen said].

. . . [Moore said] the initiative was a new phase in oceanography, one in which researchers would increasingly engage with a public hungry for information on environmental issues.
Storms know no borders. And, for the most part, scientists have a well developed global sense. But scientific efforts and exploration have too often held a lower priority for the United States than making war. I continue to compare and contrast the destructiveness of war with the constructiveness of scientific exploration and experimentation. And there lie my regrets for us all.
Cross posted at The Reaction.
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Making Good Mondays is about .
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