Every column Bill McKibben writes on climate change becomes more dread-laden and portentous, but I never stop enjoying them. His latest is "Year One" in Sierra Magazine. The money clip:
We will soon learn, for example, that what we’ve been calling “global warming” is better thought of as excess energy trapped in the atmosphere, which will express itself in every possible way. Like the Bush administration’s energy bill, these manifestations will also be about “more”: more evaporation in arid lands and then more flooding when it eventually rains; more wind as air pressure rises from warmer areas; more extreme heat waves like the one that killed tens of thousands of Europeans in 2003 or the one that cut North American grain yields by a third in 1988; more ecological disruption as summers lengthen, winters shorten, and sea levels rise; more disease as mosquitoes spread to once-cool climes; and even more nonlinear surprises like the possible shutdown of the Gulf Stream.
Katrina revealed deep helplessness among our rulers. Part of it stemmed from cronyism and incompetence, part from the sheer overwhelming force of the blow. We will slowly recover, but even the United States has only so many hundreds of billions to spare. New Orleans will be rebuilt — this time. But what if hurricanes like Katrina go from being once-in-a-century storms to once-in-a-decade-or-two storms? How many times will we rebuild?
The same issue of Sierra has a Decoder on the edits made by Philip Cooney to federal climate-change reports. Quite incisive and entertaining.
Then there’s a set of Sebastiao Salgado photos from Galapagos (the photos aren’t online, though), and a fascinating interview with Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, about his BRT (bus rapid transit) system.
Is Sierra always this good?