Arctic, we’ve got a problem

Thomas Homer-Dixon has a piece in the NYT about what he has witnessed aboard a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker: “Channels through the Canadian Arctic archipelago that were choked with ice at this time of year two decades ago are now expanses of open water or vast patchworks of tiny islands of melting ice.” He’s convinced that dramatic warming in the Arctic will contribute to big, big problems further south, but he points to several reasons why “Climate policy is gridlocked, and there’s virtually no chance of a breakthrough.” Among the reasons:

“Human beings are notoriously poor at responding to problems that develop incrementally. And most of us aren’t eager to change our lifestyles by sharply reducing our energy consumption.”

Also: Because many of us “see ourselves as rugged individualists mastering nature,” it is possible for “[p]owerful special interests like the coal and oil industries . . . to halt movement on climate policy by exploiting the fear people feel when their identities are threatened.”

I’m guessing that this article won’t change anybody’s mind. If you think global warming is real, you’ll accept Homer-Dixon’s piece as corroboration; if you think global warming is a vast conspiracy, you’ll laugh at what you consider pathetic rationalizing.

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