Debate on climate change has been shifting from one on whether humans are responsible for global warming to one on whether there’s anything we can do about it. The Washington Post:
Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend. … There are three specific events that these scientists describe as especially worrisome and potentially imminent: … widespread coral bleaching that could damage the world’s fisheries within three decades; dramatic sea level rise by the end of the century that would take tens of thousands of years to reverse; and, within 200 years, a shutdown of the ocean current that moderates temperatures in northern Europe. The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted.
Meanwhile, one of the few things that could force us to significantly decrease our oil dependence — scarcity of the stuff — is being rapidly nullified by the increasing feasibility of mining Canadian oil sands. The politics of oil may change from U.S.-Middle East to U.S.-Canada. The “keep driving!” message sent by the push to move oil extraction from Iraq to Canada isn’t going to do the world’s oceans any good. And when the oceans fail, we all fall down.
The other meanwhile: Environmentalists are having a hard time convincing American consumers that maybe they don’t need to be wiping their noses (and booties) with virgin timber. This one has always baffled me — why would anyone even consider buying non-recycled personal tissue? But not only do people consider it, they insist on it (except for Germans, who are for some reason driven by common sense).