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Putting Down the Pipeline

Like addicts, we would love to stick to what is easy, familiar, and dependable. The withering consequences of our actions, abstracted to an intangible future, are easy to deny. Prominent politicians say that global warming is a fantasy, that we can keep doing what we’re doing, that everything will be okay. Meanwhile their speech is paid for by the same corporations we enrich with our emissions. These corporations are addicted to our money like we to their energy and plastic, but corporations are not people, and unlike us, will never have the will to quit. Recently a number of groups including the Charles G. Koch foundation funded a new study hoping to blame the steep increase in temperature since 1970 on urban “heat islands.” Greg Laden explains, “Urban areas can be warmer than surrounding non-urban areas because there is a lot of combustion, pavement and other structure can collect solar heat and retain it for a while.” James Hrynyshyn continues “Their hypothesis is that too many of the thermometers used to record temperatures over the last 200 years have been located in or near cities, and so have produced a warming bias produced by the waste heat generated in urban areas.” But instead the study produced a graph nearly identical to the iconic “hockey stick” it was intended to debunk. Ethan Siegel says that the new work confirms “with great precision the results of the previous studies, showing a rise over the past 60 years of an average of 1 degree Celsius, with the rise accelerating over the past 30 years.” But it’s the next 100 years we really need to consider.