I wonder why global warming isn’t the headline story of every newscast. It isn’t even talked about frequently, and when it is, it gets a one or two minute fluff piece before going on to the much more “important” missing white girl of the season story. This is despite the problem getting rapidly worse. It now seems that humanity is on for a collision course with an unavoidable 2 degree Celcius temperature increase, a figure that has generally considered by those in the scientific community as catastrophic. No, it won’t end all human life on Earth just yet, but it will kill many millions because of food shortages caused by drought. And don’t forget the millions of refugees that will be created when sea levels rise and flood out highly populated low altitude urban areas.
I know why global warming isn’t being addressed with the urgency that it should. It’s because of geographical luck. The “First World” won’t be suffering the same kind of fate as the rest of the world. The linked article gives the following consequences of a two degree Celcius increase for Africa:
Between 350 and 600 million people will suffer water shortages or increased competition for water. Yields from agriculture could fall by half by 2020 while arid areas will rise by up to 8 per cent. The number of sub-Saharan species at risk of extinction will rise by at least 10 per cent.
And what are the consequences for North America?
Crop yields will increase by up to 20 per cent due to warmer temperatures but economic damage from extreme weather events such as Hurricane Katrina will continue increasing.
So, you see, it’s simply not getting “bad” enough yet for us Americans to worry about it. Many people will suffer, but hey, we can grow more crops! There are sadly far too few people like Al Gore who really get it. And frankly, I feel like he has an obligation to run for President in 2008, because humanity needs a singular focus on this issue and nobody else is giving it.