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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

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Climate Hustle

Posted on 16 February 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 10 through Sat, Feb 16, 2019

Editor’s Pick

What we can learn about climate change from the Titanic

Titanic

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio starred in the 1997 film Titanic. Credit: Paramount Pictures

I recently shared the latest news about climate change with my Facebook friends, writing this: “The five warmest years in recorded history have been the last five, and 18 of the 19 warmest years have occurred since 2001.” One of my friends commented that it reminded him of those people who were rearranging the deck chairs as the Titanicsank. Are climate deniers their modern equivalent?

The climate ship has definitely sailed: Even if we could eliminate all carbon emissions overnight, the planet’s average temperature and sea level would not decrease in the coming decades, because of the inertia built into the climate system. As with a massive ship, you can’t wait until the last minute to start steering away from disaster. But even on the doomed Titanic, there would have been many more survivors if the right actions had been promptly taken, and the same is true today for global warming.

As a matter of historical fact, the Titanic’s 614 wood-and-wicker chairs were probably tied up for the night when the ship began sinking. The first reference to “rearranging the deck chairs” did not appear in print until the late 1960s. Nevertheless, the expression has since come to describe futile actions taken in the face of impending catastrophe. Like, say, President Trump calling for “forest clearing” to address wildfire risks in California—where the deadliest recent fires, made worse by climate change, did not happen in forests. The phrase remains an all-too-accurate description of the little that is being done to stabilize our planet’s climate. 

What we can learn about climate change from the Titanic by Dawn Stover, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Feb 15, 2019


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