Monday, January 24, 2005

The Point Of No Return

All Passengers!
Please wake up immediately!
We are now approaching The Point of No Return.

There's an interesting article in Sunday's edition of the U.K.'s The Independent
Global warming has already hit the danger point that international attempts to curb it are designed to avoid, according to the world's top climate watchdog.
So what? Who is this "top climate watchdog"? And what the heck does he know?
Dr Rajendra Pachauri [photo], the chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told an international conference attended by 114 governments in Mauritius this month that he personally believes that the world has "already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" and called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in the pollution if humanity is to "survive".
OK, what's the story? Is this guy a wild-eyed radical or what?
His comments rocked the Bush administration - which immediately tried to slap him down - not least because it put him in his post after Exxon, the major oil company most opposed to international action on global warming, complained that his predecessor was too "aggressive" on the issue.
Say what? This is one of the "less aggressive" opinions?
A memorandum from Exxon to the White House in early 2001 specifically asked it to get the previous chairman, Dr Robert Watson, the chief scientist of the World Bank, "replaced at the request of the US". The Bush administration then lobbied other countries in favour of Dr Pachauri - whom the former vice-president Al Gore called the "let's drag our feet" candidate, and got him elected to replace Dr Watson, a British-born naturalised American, who had repeatedly called for urgent action.
Well, then. What do you know?
He told delegates: "Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose."
So ... on Sunday there was not a moment to lose, and now ... it's Monday already. Apparently I got my lead paragraph wrong. I'll rephrase it:

All Passengers!
You may safely go back to sleep.
We have now passed The Point of No Return.

I don't have a song for you this time. Instead, I present my favorite bit of dialog from the TV series "Rosanne":

Dan: "Aw, Rosie, we're screwed!"

Roseanne: "Oh no, Dan, we're not screwed. We're so far beyond screwed that the light from screwed won't reach us for another ten thousand years."
Cheers, Rosie!