12 October, 2009

Climate Change

Warming is probably going to be argued less than it should this year due to debater's tendency to avoid arguments that might not ring true with parent judges. Still, I think it's worthwhile to have at least some evidence on the issue, especially since many cases could actually worsen the problem by removing EPA regulations. And, if there's ever a good time to find articles on the problem, it's now: with the Boxer/Kerry Cap & Trade bill in Congress & an international climate treaty being negotiated there's a load of information being published on the subject.

In what a researcher calls "a plausible worse-case scenario," a new report (via Climate Progress) models a scenario in which parts of the US could warm by over 15°. In just the next few decades, the Arctic is expected to see ice free summers, despite a respite this year. Climate change is affecting ice in other areas as well: glaciers in the Himalayas have been melting for quite some time. As the current global hegemon, & largest per capita polluter, the US might be expected to show some leadership on the issue. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Instead, back & forth debate on the climate bill has continued, with proponents linking environmental & energy security to national security. Meanwhile, China is taking the initiative & committing, to emissions reductions. Some might argue that an economic downturn is the wrong time to be fighting climate change, but in fact, the opposite is true. The effect of climate change legislation on farms is another common objection, however the Environmental Working Group reports that inaction would be far worse. Some predictions estimate that global warming could decrease production of some crops by up to 50% by 2050. And, don't let anyone tell you that temperatures are stabilizing: that's a short term break caused by ocean variations, & in the long run temperatures will continue to rise. On the topic of ocean temperatures, they seem to already be warming up, achieving a record for the month of August.