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Alister Doyle, of Reuters, warns us that West Antarctica warming fast, may quicken sea level rise - study, and that the rise in temperature is occurring at a rate twice as fast as previously believed, exacerbating concerns about the rise of global sea level.

Annual average temperatures at the Byrd research station in West Antarctica had risen 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3F) since the 1950s, one of the fastest gains on the planet and three times the global average in a changing climate, it said.

The unexpectedly big increase adds to fears the ice sheet is vulnerable to thawing. West Antarctica holds enough ice to raise world sea levels by at least 3.3 metres (11 feet) if it ever all melted, a process that would take centuries. ..

The United Nations panel of climate experts projects that sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 cms (7-24 inches) this century, and by more if a thaw of Greenland and Antarctica accelerates, due to global warming caused by human activities.

Professor David Bromwich, of Ohio State University, warns that the "western part of the ice sheet" is the area of biggest concern.

I'm not an atmospheric scientist, but my understanding is the key action steps such scientists are encouraging us to accomplish as quickly as possible, is a reduction of the man-made carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere mostly by the burning of fossil fuels.  

Conservation, and technology based efficiency improvements can help, however, the most important contribution seems likely to be from converting our economy to sustainable energy generation such as solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal. (Pro-nuclear advocates would adds nuclear, as it can displace coal, and oil fired plants, although with problematic generation of nuclear waste, which much be guarded from getting into the hands of terrorists, and into the environment, and also are facing 14 to 17 year plus construction delays, and formidable cost escalations, now placing it at a competitive disadvantage.)

Natural gas prices are at recent record lows, due to fracking, and are not as bad as coal and oil, but still do produce CO2, but has been increasingly displacing coal for new and existing electrical generation plants.

Although I do not expect Republicans to go along with what would be in our best national interest, and common good, as well as the common good or our global economic and environmental systems, it still seems as if as those of us striving to be the "best possible progressive Americans and world citizens we can be," should still  articulate the vision that one way we could substantially improve global conditions in the next centuries would be to do everything we can do to accelerate our national and global conversion to clean sustainable energy production - programs that could provide an enormous jobs and economic stimulus, at the same time, to offset the austerity bomb.

This understanding should cause us to support President Obama's infrastructure bank, extensions of the wind energy tax credits, and other worthwhile projects which are urgent environmentally, and by an amazingly lucky coincident are exactly the kinds of projects that would provide economic stimulus and jobs programs, while generating real economic value. Instead of just extending people's unemployment benefits, why not create good American jobs, while installing solar panels on every rooftop we can find?

A major global study of infrastructure spending released earlier this week, indicated the the Chinese are spending over 9% on improving their infrastructure, the Europeans around 5%, while the U.S. is spending 2.5%. If we wish to maintain our global competitiveness we need to stop being stupid on purpose, in massive Party wide conspiracies, such as the obstructionism of the GOP,  and try to reduce our mass stupidity to that caused mostly by accidents, and oversights.

While our political leaders are fighting over the GOP's efforts to disable our government, many other countries are using every power of their governments and private sectors to modernize their energy systems, electrical grids, and infrastructures in every way they can.

Last week, I reported Robert Kennedy, Jr. proposed putting solar collectors on every roof in America. And, noted that while Germany as fast-tracked and streamlined the permitting process down to as little as 8 days, the fragmented local zoning process in the U.S. can take up to 120 to 180 days, and add up to 20% to 30% to costs. I remember last year, Senator Bernie Sanders had proposed national "model" standards and fast-tracking to solve this.  

We know modern industry and business are going to require "smart grids,"  HVDC, and other improvements. Let's get going! Tax credits for major efforts to accelerate our conversion to sustainable energy will produce much need jobs and economic stimulus.

Let's do it, now!

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9:48 AM PT: What I was trying to say in my conclusion was that we should be visionary and courageous in articulating the best way forward, rather than just compromise with the mediocrity of the Republicans, based on pragmatism of what seems possible now.

If we "pre-compromise" with stupidity before articulating our vision then we get just varying degrees of mediocrity. And, when we finally defeat the GOP we've only won the consolation prize of slight improvements of their inherent flawed approach.

If we start with a bold visionary plan matched to the needs of the planet, environment, our people, the economy, and global environment we have a much better chance of showing how desperately stupid and inadequate the Republican mind set its, as well as a much better chance of getting people to convert to a modern, functional, science-based worldview.


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Originally posted to HoundDog on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 09:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Kosowatt, Keynesian Kossacks, Climate Change SOS, and DK GreenRoots.

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