It’s barely three years since Al Gore put global warming on the map with his video, An Inconvenient Truth. Global warming was barely on the public radar before then. Recent events show that we have made significant progress on the issue. Despite the despair in much of the media, echoed in the pages and on the web screens of the Planet, it’s very clear that due to concerted effort both nationally and worldwide, we’ve turned the corner on global warming and are now moving the other way.
Bitter cold in the Bay Area in mid-December, snow in New Orleans where formerly there were hurricanes, paralyzing cold and snow in Portland, Seattle and across the Midwest to Vermont and New York, airplanes skidding off icy runways at many airports! We have turned from global warming to global cooling with a vengeance. The cold-induced drought in California in the past two years is also a clue; we are in a cold dry “La Niña” instead of a warm wet “El Niño.” Cold and snow in China earlier in the year also indicate a new cooling. After many storms in 2004 and 2005, the last three hurricane seasons have fizzled and the danger is past. Even sea level rise has stabilized. The people of the Earth should be proud.
It’s been tough, but in three years we’ve licked global warming. The Recession (Depression?) has helped. Skyrocketing oil prices have now collapsed. Values are now falling through the floor as the world abandons fossils fuels. Oil and gas stocks continue to rise, unburnt, as the glut deepens and spreads. CO2 levels are fading fast with the curtailment of oil and gas usage. OPEC is curtailing production. Nobody wants the stuff. It’s the end of an era.
Now that we’ve defeated global warming, we can turn our attention to other things. The effects of global cooling, attested to in TV images nationwide, must of course be dealt with, but if we can stop warming, we can deal with cooling on our own terms. But we also have to deal with many other more profound problems: a speculation economy that’s out of control, the real pollution of soot and chemicals and toxic waste, crackerbox suburban housing far from any job, the rush to nuclear and corporate solar (touted highly by warming afficionados), political corruption on a mass scale, the Military-Industrial Complex and the permanent war economy, the apathy and inanity of the general population, the empty-headedness of media “entertainment,” the surveillance society based on the Internet. With global warming gone as an issue, we still have much to do.
So let’s rekindle the collective spirit that killed global warming and turn it to our other challenges. We did it once, we can do it again. I am shivering in my cold apartment, but my heart is glad. Thank you, Al, and in this season of Christmas giving and New Year’s resolutions, let’s thank ourselves for a job well done and rededicate ourselves as we know we should. Here’s to the Future!
Steve Tabor is an environmental and political activist residing in Alameda.