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This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate

By Jim Carey

Recently, a scientist said, “If there was a five percent chance of a plane crashing, would you get on it? Yet we’re treating the climate with that same level of risk in a very offhand, complacent way.” The reality is that 99 percent of the scientists accept anthropocentric global warming (AGW) as a fact. They are telling us that the effects of climate change are going to be long-term, cumulative, and probably irreversible. In North America and Europe, according to NASA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ­ 2014, key risks will include increased damages from wildfires and river and coastal floods, as we’ve recently witnessed in South Carolina.

Occupy SMA
Mon, Nov 2, 1pm
This Changes Everything
With Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis
Democracy Now
Quinta Loreto Hotel TV room
Loreto 15

Just last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, they predict that “414 towns and cities in the US, including Miami and New Orleans, are guaranteed to eventually be underwater. At least 40 percent of the people said to be living on potentially affected land live in Florida, America’s ‘Sunshine State’.”

Our planet is accumulating heat at a rate actually accelerating over the past 16 years. Scientists know from analyzing the isotopes of the carbon in the atmosphere, that the increase in atmospheric CO2 (90-plus million tons a day) is the result of burning fossil fuels and forests and not the result of natural processes. By analyzing air bubbles trapped in the ice of Antarctica and Greenland, scientists have determined that over the past 650,000 years atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide CO2) varied. Before the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, the highest CO2 was approximately 280 parts per million (ppm). Now CO2 ppm has soared above 400.

Globally each day 2,300-plus coal­-fired power stations (7,000-plus individual units), a billion-plus passenger cars by 2050, and 30,000-plus airplane flights, add even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. At the current rate, the average temperature around the world could increase by about 4 to 12°F by the year 2100. Unless policy dramatically changes, some cities will be as hot as the Middle Eastern desert.

Naomi Klein’s view of all of this is worth hearing. “All those years, we imagined that we had freed ourselves from nature’s bonds, that we were the boss. There was a part of the story we couldn’t yet see: our machines were filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Could it be that we’re not the masters, after all, that we are just guests here and that we can get evicted for bad behavior?” Join the discussion Monday. Our meeting is open to all at no charge.


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