Memories and lessons learned

An Inconvenient Al

Remember Al Gore?  Clinton’s VP?  Lost to Little Bush in the 2000 Presidential election? Well, sort of.  But he did star in the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, which he won an Oscar for.

Well, on September 14, he started a new project – 24 Hours of Reality.   The project consisted of 24 presenters, in a 24 hour period, over 24 time zones.  The presentations were made by citizen activists trained by Gore about extreme weather events.  You can watch the presenters on the website, but here’s a highlight video of the session from Mexico City

Here is a quick snapshot of some of the main points covered by the Climate Reality Project by Steve Scauzillo, a staff writer at Whittier Daily News, from his article “Gore presents reality about climate change in 24-hour webcast” (reprinted with permission):

* 90 million tons of greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere every 24 hours. And although carbon dioxide isn’t poisonous, it traps heat causing global temperatures to rise (like a greenhouse).
* Every national academy of sciences of every major country in the world agrees that climate change is reality and is caused primarily by man-made sources (such as combustion of fossil fuels).
* Higher temperatures bring about more severe droughts and more intense and frequent rainstorms and flooding. A one degree increase in air temperature increases the capacity of air to hold 7 percent more water vapor, which can increase a storm’s volume of precipitation. The weather patterns are getting scrambled.
* 20 million people affected by flooding in 2010; 5.5 million this week.
* 8.5 million people in China affected by floods this year.
* Colombia had five times the amount of average rainfall this year.
* Taiwan had 48 inches of rain in 48 hours.
* In the U.S. this year, record flooding occurred along the Mississippi River and in North Dakota. Hurricane Irene caused $12 billion in damages, including places that have never been hit by tropical storms before, such as Killington, Vt.
* Severe and extended droughts are occurring in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The largest lake in China, Poyang Lake, last May was dry.
* There’s a direct link between higher temperatures, extended droughts and fires. The wildfire season has increased by 78 days over the past three decades.
* 252 out of 254 counties in Texas have had fires this summer; 2,600 homes were lost.
* In July, downtown Phoenix was overcome by a massive dust storm.
* New Mexico is recovering from the largest fire in its history.
* In Australia last year, weeks of triple-digit heat and fires devastated large parts of the country.
* France’s Loire River, the largest in the country, is bone dry.
* This year, 200 U.S. cities broke or tied all-time records for high temperatures.
* All 50 states this past July broke or tied high temperature records.

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