Al gores talk at Ted in the case for change on Climate Change.
Al Gore has three questions about climate change and our future. First:
Do we really have to change?
Each day, global-warming pollution traps as much heat energy as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every 24hours 365 days a year . This trapped heat is leading to stronger storms and more extreme floods, he says: “Every night on the TV news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.”
NASA photo: Earth Rise
NASA Photo: Earth from space
NASA photo. Al gore: “One of the most essential facts about the climate crisis has to do with the sky. As this picture illustrates, the sky is not the vast and limitless expanse that appears when we look up from the ground. It is a very thin shell of atmosphere surrounding the planet. “
Al gore: ”The open sewer for our industrial civilization as it’s currently organized. We are spewing 110 million tons of heat-trapping global warming pollution into it every 24 hours, free of charge.”
Al gore: “The heart of the problem, which is the fact that we still rely on dirty, carbon-based fuels for 85 percent of all the energy that our world burns every year.”
Al gore: “The accumulated amount of man-made, global warming pollution that is up in the atmosphere now traps as much extra heat energy as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every 24 hours, 365 days a year. And all that extra heat energy is heating up the atmosphere, the whole earth system. “
Al gore: “This is a depiction of what we used to think of as the normal distribution of temperatures. The white represents normal temperature days; 1951-1980 are arbitrarily chosen. The blue are cooler than average days, the red are warmer than average days.”
Al gore: “The entire curve has moved to the right in the 1980s. In the 90s, the curve shifted further. And in the last 10 years, you see the extremely hot days are now more numerous than the cooler than average days.”
The first order of consequence: the ocean-based storms get stronger. The second order of consequences, The warmer oceans are evaporating much more water vapor into the skies, triggering these massive record-breaking downpours. These record downpours are creating historic floods and mudslides.
The same extra heat pulls the soil moisture out of the ground and causes these deeper, longer, more pervasive droughts. It dries out the vegetation and causes more fires.
Right now we’re seeing microbial diseases from the tropics spread to the higher latitudes; the transportation revolution has had a lot to do with this. But the changing conditions change the latitudes in the areas where these microbial diseases can become endemic and change the range of the vectors, like mosquitoes and ticks that carry them. The Zika epidemic now — we’re better positioned in North America because it’s still a little too cool and we have a better public health system. But when women in some regions of South and Central America are advised not to get pregnant for two years — that’s something new, that ought to get our attention.
This is also connected to the extinction crisis. We’re in danger of losing 50 percent of all the living species on earth by the end of this century.
Last December 29, the same storm that caused historic flooding in the American Midwest, raised temperatures at the North Pole 50 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, causing the thawing of the North Pole in the middle of the long, dark, winter, polar night. And when the land-based ice of the Arctic melts, it raises sea level.
Can we change? We’ve already started.
How did this increase come about. First, the cost came down much faster than anybody expected, even as the quality went up. And low-income countries, places that did not have a landline grid — they leap-frogged to the new technology.
There are more people without any electricity at all in India than the entire population of the United States of America. So now we’re getting this: solar panels on grass huts and new business models that make it affordable.
Bangladesh is now the fastest-deploying country in the world: two systems per minute on average, night and day.
So then, the big question:
Will we change? In this challenging, inspiring talk, Gore says yes.
When any great moral challenge is ultimately resolved into a binary choice between what is right and what is wrong, the outcome is foreordained because of who we are as human beings,” he says. “That is why we’re going to win this.
This is the video of the TED Talk below,
Al Gore: The case for optimism on climate change