It wouldn't have been Earth Day without someone saying that climate change is the fight of our generation. Luckily, NASA was there to offer that talking point.
On its website yesterday, NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden warned:
Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA is uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of documenting and understanding these changes, predicting the ramifications, and sharing information about these changes for the benefit of society.
There's the rallying cry. Now, here's the doom and gloom scenario from Stanford Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, talking about how we should look at the "chances of global catastrophe:"
Suppose there were only a 10% probability that business as usual would bring about global climate disruption sufficient to cause the deaths of billions and misery for survivors. What, if anything, should or would society do about it?
Looking at how other risks are handled can give us a clue. Your odds of having a house fire are way under 1%, and those of having your house burn down entirely are less than one in a hundred thousand. Yet most people choose to have fire insurance. The lifetime odds of dying in an airplane accident are about one in five thousand, yet many people are afraid of flying and/or take out trip life insurance.
That's right; billions will die if we don't stop global warming.
Yet, NOAA noted that 2013 experienced the calmest hurricane season in 30 years. Additionally, we've seen the quietest tornado season in nearly 60 years; the creation of 19,000 Manhattans-worth of sea ice; and the Arctic ice cap, which was supposed to be completely gone by this year, grew by over 500,000 square miles.