Subtitle: We don’t know how to repair Planet A and There is no Planet B… We won’t let that stop us, though
As we normalize the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and keep on driving to our favorite stores — Those dang eco-extremists… Can you believe the price went up on this again — Eban Goodstein, Ph.D., warns that “over the next 40 years Arctic ice melt will take an economic toll of between $2.4 trillion and $24 trillion.”
“As we have seen with the BP spill, governmental regulations aren’t always capable of preventing worst-case scenarios from unfolding. Private industry, given the opportunity, will sometimes cut corners.”
Why is the melting Arctic so expensive? “The Arctic acts as the planet’s air conditioner, and that function is already breaking down,” says Goodstein, an economist and Director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy. The high price reflects anticipated losses in agriculture and real estate plus the cost of disease outbreaks and natural disasters associated with rising sea levels. The melt, he says, is already adding extra heat at an annual rate of 3 billion tons of CO2 — the equivalent of 500 coal-powered plants, or more than 40% of all U.S. fossil fuel emissions — and this is expected to more than double by the end of the century.
The “Cost of a Warming Arctic” study, funded by the Pew Environment Group, assessed trends in the Arctic’s cooling mechanisms and examined the financial consequences. The research team looked at the rate at which surfaces change from white ice and snow to ocean or exposed tundra, since darker surfaces absorb, rather than reflect, solar heat. According to the report, this shift and the increased methane emissions linked with melting permafrost currently slap us with annual losses in the range of $61 billion to $371 “resulting from such changes as heat waves and flooding.” But the anticipated monetary fallout described in the study, expected to run deep into the trillions over the coming decades, may actually be conservative, as it does not take into account the recently discovered large-scale methane releases from the thawing continental shelf.
The lead paragraph of the Time article had the concluding sentence: “Unless we change course — and fast.” Well, Judith D. Scwartz, we are.
The Interior Department is offering oil and gas leases on 1.8 million acres of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve while promising to protect critical migratory bird and caribou habitat.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the Bureau of Land Management will offer 190 tracts with bids to be opened Aug. 11 in Anchorage. The sale is one of dozens, mostly in Western states, that Salazar announced in November.
The petroleum reserve covers 23 million acres on Alaska’s North Slope. That’s an area slightly smaller than the state of Indiana.
And, meanwhile, paragon of environmental rectitude British Petroleum is building an artificial island to bypass Arctic drilling restrictions.
Editor’s note: The
House of Slytherin BLM withdrew for consideration lands in a buffer zone around Teshekpuk (TESH’-eh-puk) Lake because of its importance to migratory birds, thus, the title for the post.
A thoughtfully hand-crafted list of some recent AG posts on the topic of Methane’s Substantial Potential to accelerate Global Heating and bring about Catastrophic Climate Change