Withholding evidence of climate change
Will George W. Bush (and Dick Cheney) one day be charged with committing crimes against Gaia? It's one thing to ignore the scientific community's near unanimous opinion that climate change is real and poses a most serious threat to planetary life. It's quite another to actually withhold evidence that supports scientists' conclusions and would represent a big-time inconvenience to carbon-emitting corporate friends.
I say guilty as charged and sentence them to 60 days of healthy labor in a certified platinum green building. Seriously, you have to wonder what else they kept from us. (GW)
Revealed: the secret evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide
Photos from US spy satellites declassified by the Obama White House provide the first graphic images of how the polar ice sheets are retreating in the summer. The effects on the world's weather, environments and wildlife could be devastating
By Suzanne Goldenberg and Damian Carrington
July 26, 2009
Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the
The pictures, kept secret by
One particularly striking set of images - selected from the 1,000 photographs released - includes views of the Alaskan
The photographs demonstrate starkly how global warming is changing the
Nor has this loss shown any sign of recovery. Ice cover for 2008 was almost as bad as for 2007, and this year levels look equally sparse.
"These are one-metre resolution images, which give you a big picture of the summertime
Disappearing summer sea ice poses considerable dangers, scientists have warned. Ice shelves are used by animals such as polar bears as platforms for hunting seals and other sea creatures. Without them, they could starve. In addition, ice reflects solar radiation. Without that process, the Arctic sea could warm up even more. The phenomenon threatens to set off runaway heating of the planet, say climatologists.
The latest revelations have triggered warnings from scientists that they no longer have the funds to keep a comprehensive track of climate change. Last week the head of the
"Our primary focus is maintaining the continuity of climate observations, and those are at great risk right now because we don't have the resources to have satellites at the ready and taking the kinds of information that we need," said Lubchenco, who was appointed by Obama. "We are playing catch-up."
Even before her warning, scientists were saying that America, the world's scientific superpower, was virtually blinding itself to climate change by cutting funds to the environmental satellite programmes run by the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Nasa. A report by the National Academy of Sciences this year warned that the environmental satellite network was at risk of collapse.
In February, a Nasa satellite carrying instruments to produce the first map of the Earth's carbon emissions crashed near
The satellite would have measured carbon emissions at 100,000 points around the planet every day, providing a wealth of data compared to the 100 or so fixed towers currently in operation in a land-based network.
The NOAA is under additional pressure to provide environmental data because of the re-emergence of the El Niño climate phenomenon, where warming of the tropical Pacific causes heatwaves, droughts and flooding around the world. June's land and sea surface temperatures were the second hottest on record, and scientists are predicting this will be the warmest decade in recorded history. The last major El Niño was in 1998, the hottest year in recorded history.
The Obama administration has already taken steps to tackle
Satellite images of polar ice sheets taken in July 2006 and July 2007 showing the retreating ice during the summer. Photograph: Public Domain