End of the world as we know it

Kilimanjaro 2004, from Wikipedia   http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2005/ALLPOLITICS/03/17/steroids.baseball/story.canseco01.jpg

OK. There are days when the items in the news look like a conspiracy. Today was one of those days. There’s a thread of the threat of extinction about it all. The headless and heartless U.S. Senate attached a rider to a budget bill to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, using as a justification the fact that gas prices for America’s SUVs are at an all time high ($2.05 a gallon nationally), and crude oil stands at $57 a barrel. OPEC agrees to raise production levels twice by 500,000 barrels per day, but “the market” still thinks that world petroleum demand will continue to outstrip supply (now at about 87 million bpd). Stay tuned to see how open the oil taps will go this summer, and whether Al-Zarqawi can destroy Iraq’s flow. I want to keep track of these numbers from now on. Time to buy gold?

Meantime, what is the alternative, nuclear energy? Great idea, except that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports today that scientists trying to find a way to make the proposed Yucca Mountain long term plutonium waste repository safe for the next 100,000 years couldn’t even use uncooked data. Apparently, they fudged their computer models to show that the effects of underground water would not cause our hot waste to leak out into the environment–anything to get this horrible project built.

OK. Nuclear is on hold, then, so how about coal? Well, it turns out that two studie released today show that even if we were to stop burning all fossil fuels today, we could expect air temperatures to rise over a degree in the next few centuries, and sea level should rise at least a meter. I will never get to see the snows of Kilimanjaro even in a photo (see above). Guess what? We’re not going to stop burning fossil fuels.

And what else do we do with oil, gas and coal? Make poisonous chemicals like pesticides and steroids. So it’s either goodbye Bangladesh (experts say we have plenty of time to “adapt”–build dikes, move cities–all fun) or hello, Jose (Canseco). I’m going to remember this day.

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