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OPINION: Cool The Arctic, Save The World


by Cody Michaels

So it’s official:  The National Academy of Sciences recently announced that we are in fact in a climate crisis of our own making due to our failure to get off fossil fuels when we should have done that back in the 1970s and ’80s.

The academy is now calling for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, including from fracking, along with major reforestation and topsoil restoration efforts, beginning this decade — all good ideas, long overdue, and talk about a jobs and infrastructure program! The situation does indeed now seem dire. Even as I type this, the Arctic is in a death spiral, and it seems hell-bent on taking us down along with it. Its sea-ice pack is going fast. Greenland is also showing early signs of  rapid ice-collapse. If it lets out, this will raise seas substantially and quickly, well before later this century.

And methane (a super-potent greenhouse gas) is increasingly erupting from thawing Arctic tundra and shallow sea floor permafrost, most notably, along the East Siberian Arctic Shelf,  in amounts that have been described by scientists as “horrific.” The Earth’s temperate oceans decided they’d had enough of overheating due to unnatural global warming from fossil fuel emissions. Now, they are giving this heat back to the Arctic Ocean in trumps. Because of this, the Arctic has recently warmed up to a point where the temperature difference between it and the equator has diminished substantially, weakening the polar jet stream. This is allowing for the air patterns that are leading to a marked increase in abnormal, highly damaging, weather events of late, including a displaced polar vortex, according to an article in Scientific American.

And a number of Arctic specialists are saying it could get much worse, real fast. They’re saying that Mother Earth’s biosphere is so maxed out from greenhouse gases, that even serious emissions reductions and far better stewardship will no longer be enough to save the day on their own anymore. In order to stave off disaster, a safe and efficient way to capture excess carbon from the atmosphere, and put it back in the ground where it belonged in the first place, must be found before long.

So, here we are, at least half-way to heck with a huge decision on our hands: Do we continue to go along with global warming and climate change deniers, or not?