Thursday, September 24, 2015

COTW: Apocalypse Soon

The potential apocalypse threatening the planet is, of course, global warming. It is an issue that transcends politics and religion, and with Pope Francis, the first 'green' pope, set to address a historic joint session of Congress, the issue will undoubtably be in the forefront of public discussion. This chart from strictly secular NASA depicts just the radical amount of atmospheric carbon dixoide released by humanity compared to the last 650,000 years of Earth's history:

We are on the path of making our cosmic home unrecognizable, if not uninhabitable to many of our fellow creatures. As Pope Francis wrote in his ground breaking encyclical {20.06.15}, dominion over the planet and other life is inseparable from sacred responsibility to protect and cherish them.

Frontline and Inside Climate News tell us that Exxon knew as early as 1977 that Earth's climate was being seriously disrupted by fossil fuel burning. A company senior scientist, James F. Black told an audience of oilmen burning their products produced atmospheric carbon dioxide that would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity. In 1982 summer intern Steve Knisely at Exxon Research calculated that unless fossil fuel burning was constrained, there would be 400ppm CO₂ in the air compared to 280ppm before the Industrial Revolution.  His predictions have turned out to be very close to the actual. Exxon's response towards the end of the 80s was to curtail CO₂ research and launch a hugely expensive public relations campaign to obfuscate and deny the issue.That campaign continues to this day, fronted by a slender blonde actress in a business suit who brags about the United States' position as the number one producer of methane, a gas that is many times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Some of documents supporting these facts are available here. Once again a major corporation is exposed to have behaved like a criminal conspiracy rather than a responsible 'citizen' in possession of privileged information damaging to its profit margin. Label this conclusion anti-business, because if the label fits, US Person will wear it.