Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Real Deficit

...has nothing to do with US government revenues and expenditures.  The real deficit is environmental:  we are essentially consuming the very planet that sustains us.  
 In a recent article in the journal Science, researchers at Oregon State University and Harvard explained how they used marine fossils to piece together a rough temperature record going back 11,300 years to the most recent ice age. That record indicates that the Earth warmed as it emerged from the ice age, followed by a long-term cooling trend. The cooling continued until the industrial revolution, when humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest — and pumping heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Then the temperature spiked. With the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere, models suggest, the Earth’s average temperature in 2100 will surpass that detectable in any of the millennia studied.
The most dramatic implication of the study is not the magnitude of the current warming but its extremely rapid pace. The authors note that the Earth has warmed over the past century as much as it cooled over several millennia before that, with no similar spike detectable in the data.
A government deficit we can deal with in varying ways.  We can't make up the environmental deficit.  Once it's gone, it's gone.

Do that long enough and someday it's us that will be gone.

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