Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Global Warming and the Bubbles of the Apocalypse
When I look at a picture of our beautiful little blue planet, and I think of what the Cons have done, I feel so angry and so ashamed to be a Canadian.
We're a rich, advanced country that should be a leader. Yet we've failed the world on climate change. We let our aboriginal peoples live in tents with sick children in the middle of winter. We send cancer-causing asbestos to developing nations. What's wrong with us?
Especially since, as John Ibbitson points out, the Cons may have done the dirty deed, but in a way we're all responsible for the Kyoto debacle.
“Global warming peaked as an issue when Al Gore won his Academy Award in 2007, and has basically declined since,” he said Monday. “And when the economy went up the hit parade, the environment went down precipitously.”
To a degree I can understand why so many Canadians feel this way. Thanks to the Cons we've come to believe that our prosperity depends on dirty oil. And in a cold country like Canada the day of reckoning seems so far off.
But what if it wasn't? What if bubbles like these are already heralding the beginning of the Apocalypse?
Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.
"In a very small area, less than 10,000 square miles, we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed," Dr Semiletov said. Some plumes were a kilometre or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal."
Because it has happened before.
So has this deep sea horror story.
Heating makes it harder for water to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere; thus, if ancient volcanism raised CO2 and lowered the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, and global warming made it more difficult for the remaining oxygen to penetrate the oceans, conditions would have become amenable for the deep-sea anaerobic bacteria to generate massive upwellings of H2S.
As the H2S gas choked creatures on land and eroded the planet's protective shield, virtually no form of life on the earth was safe.
And as we all should know, it's what you don't see coming that kills you.
Which is why I like the way David Attenborough, the great British nature correspondent, ended what might be his last amazing series for the BBC, the other day.
With this little video....
Because it is a wonderful world isn't it?
To sacrifice it to short term economic interests, or just plain greed, would be the greatest crime ever.
So we've all got to do more to save it...