Monday, September 12, 2005

one more unpleasant fact about global warming

All those nifty glaciers in the Himalayas? They aren't just a habitat for abominable snowmen, or fun courses for spoiled college kids to go trekking on -- they provide a key source of drinking water for over two billion people in India and China. But they are retreating at an accelerating pace...

It's not just Asians who need to worry about disappearing water supplies. Snowpack is critical for water in the western US. Trouble is, as things get a little bit warmer, you get less winter/spring snow and more rain, which flows into the streams and rivers right away. The advantage to snowpack is it releases its water gradually over the course of the summer, not as soon as it stops raining. The Colorado River is just a big collection of snowmelt, and it provides water for much of California and six other western states.

Global warming does matter. I can't prove it's not purely a natural phenomena but 99% of scientists who haven't been bought by industry interests believe it is. It would be nice to take steps to at least reduce the pace at which carbon dioxide is building in the atmosphere, but we can't even manage a pathetic first step in this country, thanks to short-term profitism in the energy and automotive industry (and among their political servants) and the refusal of large segments of the Republican party to consider these uncomfortable facts.

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel ... thirsty?