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The worst and the most feared
is happening. The North Pole is
melting with an alarming rate.

It is worst than first predicted.
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World facing tipping point on warming

I have a bad feeling, at times, about the future of the human race. I find myself wondering: Does our vaunted rationality only work in fits and starts? Was the Enlightenment just a speed bump in our race to self-destruction?

In short, are we nuts?

Exhibit A: The Bush administration's refusal to admit that global warming poses a serious threat to life as we know it on Earth -- despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that is everywhere to see.



In fact, the administration is actively working to downplay or suppress the findings of science.

That should be big news, shouldn't it? Nah.

Not in the Bush age.

A near-unanimous consensus now exists among scientists that global warming is real, is being driven by human sources, and is causing changes to our world that could, as one scientist put it, make Earth "a different planet."

That esteemed scientist, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recently went public with his fears about global warming, despite the Bush administration's attempt to censor him and other NASA scientists on the subject.

Like most scientists, Hansen believes that global warming is a serious threat, and that time for response is running out. We have to begin cutting greenhouse gases now, he says, not later.

"We can't let it go on another 10 years like this," says Hansen. "We've got to do something."

In fact, the global warming debate has entered a new phase, according to a recent Washington Post article. Among scientists, it's no longer about whether global warming is real -- it is -- but whether we've reached a "tipping point" beyond which climate change might be irreparable and unstoppable.

Some think we might have already reached that point.



There's a new sense of urgency.

Unfortunately, that urgency isn't reaching the public, partly due to ongoing efforts by the global warming critics to cloud the issues and sow confusion.

The global warming debate has passed through several stages over the past 25 years. First, the critics denied that it existed.

Then they denied that humans contributed to it.

Then they denied that humans were a significant factor.

Now, this small group of global warming deniers -- well-financed by oil companies and other special interests -- say we still don't know what "dangerous climate change" means exactly or whether humans can do anything to stop it.

But what we do know is enough to spur us to action.

Rising global temperature levels. Melting polar ice caps. Bleaching coral reefs. Disappearing glaciers. Weird, intensified weather patterns.

Hello?

Global warming science is really pretty simple. The more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere, the hotter Earth gets. And unless we reduce the amount of gases, the temperatures will continue to rise and trigger planetary changes that we can't begin to fathom or predict.

In short, we're playing Russian roulette with the planet.

What gives me hope is that global warming is becoming less of a partisan issue.

If Al Gore turns you off, then listen to our closest ally, Great Britain. Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks global warming is about as serious as a heart attack. How far away does he think the tipping point is? About seven years.

Six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency -- five of them Republicans -- recently joined forces to urge President Bush to take action.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been a staunch crusader on the need to face the reality of global warming.

Most hopeful yet, perhaps, is the statement last week by 85 evangelical Christian leaders, many from red states, calling on Congress to pass McCain's legislation imposing mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. They argue that Christians have a duty to exercise good stewardship of the Earth.

But in the White House, the talk runs to excuses and denial and "voluntary" measures.



Where's the leadership?

Maybe we can't muster the fear needed to engage this kind of slowly unfolding, long-range threat.

It's not as immediate as Dick Cheney shooting someone.

But how we address global warming and its effects is far more important to our children and to our national security than how we reorganize the Department of Homeland Security or whether we catch Osama bin Laden.

At least more voices across the political spectrum are beginning to speak out, demanding the obvious: Do something.

Maybe there's some hope for the human race after all.

Source: Kansas.com - The Wichita Eagle