Clear signals about climate change appear in the science literature, but from the White House the signals seemed mixed.
Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University and co-authors wrote in a paper published this week in the online version of the journal Science: "Radiocarbon dates on wetland plants exposed along ... retreating margins [of the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru] indicate it has not been smaller for at least six millennia."
Putting a finer point on it, co-author Ellen Mosley-Thompson of Ohio State University said ($ub req’ed): "So the retreat of the ice is very rapid; it's retreated in 25 years the amount it took 1,600 years to advance."
Commenting on a new paper that appeared this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, co-author Kenneth Kunkel of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites at North Carolina State University said: "We have high confidence that the most extreme rainfalls will become even more intense, as it is virtually certain that the atmosphere will provide more water to fuel these events."
Climate Scientist Sees Clear Danger, Retires From NASA
Jim Hansen characterized the situation like this in the New York Times: "If we burn even a substantial fraction of the fossil fuels, we guarantee there's going to be unstoppable changes."
Hansen, who is retiring from NASA to devote his full time and effort to advocate for limits on greenhouse gases, also said: "We're going to leave a situation for young people and future generations that they may have no way to deal with."
And Mixed Signals From Obama
Disabusing people of the "notion that there's a contradiction between our economy and our environment," President Obama told attendees at a recent San Francisco fund-raiser: "We've got more work to do in terms of dealing with climate change and making sure that we've got an economy that is energy-efficient."
And in almost the same breath at the same fund-raiser, President Obama said: "You may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it's probably not rising to your No. 1 concern... And if ... that's shortsighted, that's what happens when you're struggling to get by."
• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 1
• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 2
• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 3
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• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 5
• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 6