The Debate Is Over: No Serious Scientist Doubts That Humans Are WarmingUp the Planet BILL McKIBBEN / Rolling Stone 3nov2005

The worst thing about the Oh shit era is we don’t know for sure exactly what will happen. Most of the changes I’ve been listing – nastier storms, rising sea levels – are pretty much linear extrapolations. If you make it hotter, they’ll just keep getting worse. But researchers suspect that the world also has some trapdoors %u2014 mechanisms that don’t work in straightforward fashion, but instead trigger a nasty chain reaction. Melt enough of that Arctic ice, for instance, and you may alter the salinity of the North Atlantic enough to shut down the Gulf Stream. All of a sudden the rest of the world would be heating up, while northwestern Europe would be getting very cold. “Climate is an angry beast,” Wallace Broecker, dean of the planet’s climate scientists, said a few years ago. “And we are poking at it with sticks.”

I’m considered the office green-crank for my obsessive recycling (and forcing others to get in that habit), energy- and water-thriftiness, and the fact that I gleefully carpool. Sad to think, then, that since my “global footprint” is still way too high, theirs must be enormous. I don’t do as much as I should, but there are so many that aren’t doing anything. What a spoiled lot we have become when throwing a piece of paper into a bin right next to the garbage can is too much of an effort to ask of the average person. Especially when we’re into the crucial stages of the every-little-bit-helps campaign.

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