Monday, December 03, 2012

 

How much is 6 degrees Celsius?


by Larry Geller

Amy Goodman is broadcasting from Doha this week on the climate change summit now taking place there.

The figure “6 degrees” of temperature increase keeps coming up in her interviews. The current projection is that the atmosphere will be six degrees warmer by the end of the century. But what does that mean? Americans have resisted going metric, so I’ll bet many viewers can’t translate that 6 degrees Celsius as 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Imagine summer wherever it is that you live about 11 degrees warmer. Parts of the Continent have already been baked at 112 degree levels, can you imagine 123 degrees?  That’s what “6 degrees” means.

Of course, the end of the century is far away. I don’t know if it’s fair to interpolate so I won’t venture a number, but by mid-century, it would still be pretty hot. People die of the heat or lose life and property in forest fires or record-setting storms.

Right now in mid-town Honolulu it’s 83 degrees indoors according to my thermometer. It’s December. In summer we might rarely hit 89. What will global warming mean to Hawaii? I don’t know. 83 degrees is hot enough. With the highest energy costs in the country it will also be a major expense to keep us cool here.

Our leaders are firmly in the pockets of big oil and big banks. It doesn’t seem like they care at all about the consequences of their continued subsidies to Big Oil. Obama may approve the pipeline from Canada that will further push up that global warming thermometer. Our government is obstructing international carbon agreements. Whose side are they on?? Well, we know that already.

How many “Sandy’s” will it take before we react? It’s not happening after just one. In fact, I’ve heard remarks that Sandy was a “job creator,” putting a new twist on disaster capitalism, or the Shock Doctrine.



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