Vitezslav Kremlik suggests that the temperatures over the last 10 years have actually stopped increasing, and that a cooling era is about to come. While I would very much like to agree with him and experience this phenomena (we could finally focus all of our attention on other issues, such as poverty, famine, AIDS, malaria, environmental pollution, waste management, fighting criminal organisations, soil degradation, biodiversity destruction, water shortage, et cetera), but sadly, the numbers I have are very different.
According to NASA and its "Global Temperature Trends: 2008 Annual Summation" from the "GISS Surface Temperature Analysis", 2008 is the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements, which extends back to 1880 (left panel of Fig. 1) and the ten warmest years all occur within the 12-year period 1997-2008.
Figure 1. Left: Annual-means of global-mean temperature anomaly Right: Global map of surface temperature anomalies, in degrees Celsius, for 2008. (Click for PDF.)
I recently joined in the 10:10 campaign, which aims to reduce each person's carbon emissions by (at least) 10% in 2010. Using Ian Katz' words, the 10:10 campaign is "the world's response to global warming is a classic case of all mouth and no trousers. This new initiative aims to show that we can all act now - and achieve something significant". It may seem, at first sight, just a fancy trend to follow up, since in these days it's cool to be green, celebrities, public figures, businessman, actors, suddenly everyone wants to go green and they take the pledge.
Sure, it may seem like that, but only to people who do it for the wrong reasons. Personally, I think it's a reasonable pledge, a moral obligation, give the current state of things. But that's my point of view. Even so, does it really matter the reason for which people decide to take the pledge? After all, humans are not very known for being capable of consciously deciding for themselves. People tend to follow trends and advertisements. Climate change is a serious issue, possibly the most important problem that our species has ever had to face, and it would be desirable to have everyone involved with the same passion and conscious choice. It would be nice indeed, but we cannot expect that happen, nor can we know if someone is truly devoted or if they are just following the mass.
As of now, I don't really care, nor do I pretend to know which one is it. It's good enough that people well do something tangible in the right direction, then we'll work on the rest.
A few links and resources to help you out in this journey:
- an excellent list on how to reduce your carbon emissions, compiled by the guardian, the most comprehensive one I found so far.
- print off flyer to stick on your fridge as a check-list reminder
I am delighted to announce that I was selected as one of the 81 bloggers in the world that will take part to the 2009 TH!NK2 Climate Change blogging competition.
TH!NK2 Climate Change is a 3 month blogging competition with a focus on UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) in December 2009. 81 bloggers from Europe with featured guests from India, China Brazil and the USA, representing the world's biggest players in climate policy, will come together on the European Journalism Centre's thinkaboutit.eu platform, to exchange ideas and debate the issues of climate change.
Participants are encouraged to report about stories in their own back yards; to bring out the local side of a global issue. The aim is to create a portal into the minds of 81 people, to show how each one experiences the effects of Climate Change policies every day.
To launch TH!NK2, TH!NKers head to Copenhagen! The FREE trip to Copenhagen takes place the 21-22 September and all participants must attend to be eligible as a TH!NKer. In Copenhagen, The EJC arms ALL particpants with a Flip HD to help them include multimedia content to their blog posts.
It is organised by the European Journalism Centre, the travel expense and accommodation will be covered by the EJC.
I am expected to write blog posts for the competition from 23 September to 20 December 2009. To stay in the competition, I need to submit at least 3 posts per month. Not a problem, it sounds much more like an incentive.
I am excited to be part of this project and I can't wait to start blogging from Denmark. ^_^
Here I am, Chicago Illinois, first time ever in USA soil. Things are getting pretty interesting, right now I'm on a Starbucks, there's a free hot spot and thanks to that I can live blog. I hold my tea paper cup and it says:
Starbucks is committed to reducing our environmental impact through increased use of post-consumer recycled materials. Help us help the planet.
Funny how this could have been a perfect starting point for last year's topic: the environment. I wonder if that really helps the environment. Of course the use of post-consumer recycled materials has been proved to cause less environmental impact than brand new materials. But is that really the point? What's the real cost of a product? It turns out that poverty and environment are really interconnected topics, the more you exploit "poor countries" resources the more you damage the environment. It's all connected, and it's all part of the same game, the game of economic growth. We live in rich countries, we have wealth, hospitals, bridges, advanced technology, corporate merchandises, cars and iPods. We are rich, indeed. According to the World Bank 1.4 billion people, or one quarter of the population of the developing world, lived below our international line of $1.25 a day in 2005. $1.25. That's very poor. I can't even buy my Starbucks tea with that.