*There is a giant gulf today between those who promote and profit from fossil fuels, including Presidents Trump and Putin, and our life support systems – Nature. In my latest book, Save Nature Now, I’ve dubbed it “Black Gold Fever,” a contagious excitement over the riches of fossil fuels.
Consider this, there has never been such an accumulation of money on our planet controlled by a handful of people. The bulk of that wealth was derived from killing Nature at the expense of the health of our biosphere, the livable space occupied by all living organisms.
Instead of prudently protecting our home, since 1997 earthlings have burned as much fossil fuel as the previous 250 years. It has infused an additional 150 zettajuoles of energy into the oceans. Incidentally, one zettajoule is the equivalent of detonating one Hiroshima-style bomb every second for 75 straight years. The oceans drive the climate, which means that civilization is facing an imminent collapse from a heat-driven, consumptive crisis.
Instead of ending fossil fuel subsidies over the previous 21 years, the world’s governments have increased them to $5.3 trillion annually. Instead of quickly reducing fossil fuel emissions, embracing technology and racing towards a zero-combustion global economy, the world leaders are backing more exploitation by fossil fuel oligarchs – a flagrant example of global kakistocracy.
Nowhere is the ever-rising heat from burning fossil fuels more evident than the Arctic region. It’s bleeding mega tons of climate-damaging methane and nitrous oxide as the soils quickly thaw. The seasonal sea ice cover is not only steadily diminishing, but also its significantly thinning, setting new predictable lows.
It’s so warm in the Arctic that winter heatwaves have become regular occurrences.”
A couple of weeks ago, NASA reported strange dotted holes in the ice 50 miles northwest of Canada’s Mackenzie River Delta. Some of my colleagues suggested that it is signaling a more worrying trend – an ice-free Arctic summer. Allow me to remind you that, ice at the North and South Poles along with glacial land ice, is priceless because it reflects incoming solar radiation back to space.
Everything is interconnected on Earth. The diminishing Arctic ice cover along with accelerated melting of land glaciers on Greenland has slowed the Atlantic Gulf Stream current, or more correctly referred to as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, by 15 percent.
Increased polar meltwater dilutes the salt concentration, which reduces the density of the polar water thereby slowing the gigantic conveyor belt, or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, from returning the water to the equator and completing its loop.
The Atlantic Gulf Stream current is vital because it brings warm equatorial water northward while pumping cooler polar water southward. The slow down of the Gulf Stream current means that catastrophic East Coast flooding will get much worse.
According to Penn State climatologist Michael Mann:
It’s happening about a century ahead of the schedule relative to what the models predict.”
In the meantime, the Trump administration has walked away from the Paris Agreement and green-lighted an oil bonanza from Texas to Alaska.
The administration has increased permits for ocean-killing, sonic-cannon oil exploration along most U.S. coastlines.
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, has authorized dumping 75 billion gallons annually of untreated fracking wastewater directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
As a result the world is drowning in petroleum.
For example, The International Energy Agency predicts that U.S. oil production will cover 80 percent of new global demand for oil in the next three years.
U.S. production is expected to accelerate by more than 25 percent to 17 million barrels a day by 2023 from increased fracking in both west Texas and northern Alaska.
Unprecedented events like 49 inches of rainfall in 24 hours along the north-shore of Kauai are poised to significantly increase because a warmer atmosphere, from burning fossil fuels, holds more moisture.
No amount of prevarications on Twitter from Trump will reverse the consequences of knowingly cooking Nature to death in the pursuit of profiteering.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is
Save Nature Now