How Will Planet Earth Cope With Early Stage Lung Cancer?

Thom plus logo Last night in Portland, as the winds kicked up to 50 miles an hour, our sky turned a dark golden brown and the air filled with smoke. California is getting all the national news coverage, but the reality is that wildfires have consumed virtually every western state this summer.

This is what early-stage global warming looks like.

Derecho tornadoes across the Midwest, massive flooding, wildfires, droughts and crop failures, hurricanes with greater force and frequency, and weather that has generally gone crazy.

Like a lifelong smoker who discovers he has early stage lung cancer, our world has been bathed in carbon pollution from fossil fuels for a bit over a century and our biosphere is now seriously, potentially fatally ill.

The ice sheet in Greenland this summer was losing 1,000,000 tons of ice every minute. The ice sheets in Antarctica are becoming unstable and melting rapidly, too. Massive increases in sea level are also now on our increasingly near term event horizon.

It's imperative that our media and government recognize and acknowledge what's actually going on, and that we put back into place the Obama policies to cut back and eliminate our use of fossil fuels that Trump gutted. Then we need to take it a huge step forward from there with a green new deal and a massive transformation of our energy systems.

Even long term smokers with early stage lung cancer can recover from their condition. So can our earth's atmosphere, scientists tell us, if we act now. Every day that goes by is another lost opportunity that we increasingly can't afford to pass up.



Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 2 years 38 weeks ago

You can't educate pork!

DrRichard 2 years 38 weeks ago

It's funny you give that analogy. When I hear the arguments and denials against climate change due to human action they often sound an awful lot like what I heard as a kid. Back then there were all sorts of spurious reasons given why smoking just couldn't be leading to lung cancer. Ridiculous of course, and a lot of people at least intuitively knew it, though many people weren't thinking ecologically either about the world or what was happening inside themselves. The 1964 Surgeon General's report really turned the corner on the tobacco argument though. Problem is, for better or worse Americans have become much less trusting of experts. If there was a similar report today for climate change an awful lot of people would dismiss it as "fake news."

Donald Campbell's picture
Donald Campbell 2 years 38 weeks ago

The use of tear gas is well known for deteriorating lung tissue, this making one even more susceptable to covid-19. Our "crowd control" is actually murder.

rostasi 2 years 38 weeks ago

I agree with much of what you have to say,
but I don't really think that Americans, as a whole,
"have become much less trusting of experts."
It's that the small number of people who do think that way,
get a lot more undeserved attention. We have to stop trying
to convince the unconvincible few and just get on with the
work that needs to be done. Many of them will come around
once they realize that it's in their better interest to do so
(i.e. realize that the are being directly impacted).

GoingPostal's picture
GoingPostal 2 years 38 weeks ago

Presidents from both parties and Their Enablers in the U.S. Senate keep the Perpetual War Economy rolling down that track, year in and year out. The single most destructive activity of "mankind" on the entire planet - War - was not stopped under Obama any more than it stopped under Clinton, the Bushes or Donald Q. Trump.

It's time for a New Democratic Party that will take the U.N. suggestion of an international moratorium on war fighting during this pandemic. Maybe it's just a "trick" to see if it's possible. But if we could get away from burning $$$ Trillions on war, we might magically come up with the $$$ Trillions needed for Clean Energy and the New Green Economy.

As far as I can remember, when it came to national energy policy, Obama was an "All Of The Above" kind of guy. You know, like Dick Cheney in 2005, behind closed doors.

jwc3119's picture
jwc3119 2 years 38 weeks ago

Hey Thom,

I recently viewed an Australian (ABC) three part series called "Fighting for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge". The host placed 6.5 tons of ice on a sidewalk and asked passersby how long would it take to melt the ice using their carbon footprint. The answer was 10 days. it would not take the average American much longer since our carbon footprint is close per person. Greenland ice sheet - about 4 trillion tons. Homework problem for readers: calculate time to melt it using round numbers of 0.6 tons/day/person and 330 million US population. Answer, 55 years (for the contribution of just the US at current population and greenhouse gas production).

alis volat's picture
alis volat 2 years 38 weeks ago

Will it be fire or ice? I think we have our answer. And you can throw in some drowning.

I'd bitch about being trapped in my home by the smoke, but at this stage I am grateful to still have a home. Everyone young and able looking for a job needs to get some construction training, and we need to pay them to do it!

I spent time looking at some absolutely great ideas and projects underway to store energy from wind and traditional batteries involved. Gravity weights in mine shafts, water sent up hill and running turbines on the way down, and something new from an Australian university called MGA blocks. These blocks store heat from wind or solar and the heat can be used to run old coal plants minus the coal. No more intermittence when you get the right combo. It may take three things to create the hybrid needed, throw-in some great computers for smooth transitions and voila.

Legend 2 years 38 weeks ago

The smoke in the Rocky Mountains increases every summer. A blatantly obvious sign of climate change. I have a view for 200 miles, some days I cannot see 5. My right wing Brother in Law lives in Phoenix. He was complaining that they blew the charts off of the wall this Summer with number of days above 110 degrees. They went 20 days at one point without the temperature getting below 90 degrees at night. He does not get it.

Legend 2 years 38 weeks ago

Primary transformer burning up at a power plant in GA. What they do not mention is the danger of what is in that smoke. PCB's for starters. Old plants still have transformers cooled by PCB fluids.

whatabout's picture
whatabout 2 years 38 weeks ago

Thom, maybe time to move out of the anus of the United States that Portland has become. Living in an environment where the air quality consists of a mixture of urine, feces, gasoline, burning buildings, and tear gas, cannot be good for one's mental and physical health. Clearly your on-air demeanor has become markedly more aggressive and this might be a good time to relocate to a republican run city where "peaceful protests" are actually peaceful and the outsiders that promote violence are dealt with quickly and quietly.

On a more joyful note, Barack Obama got one just for being half black so why not,

Norwegian lawmaker nominates Trump for Nobel Peace Prize


Legend 2 years 38 weeks ago

Whatabutt, Maybe Thom should move to some nice pristine forested area in the mountains. Except they are burning up also, only due to climate change. Even the White House admits to it.

One thing that I notice is critics like Whatabutt never admit to what shithole they live in.

ADemo4Ever's picture
ADemo4Ever 2 years 38 weeks ago

I guess the population thinks that some really smart person(s) will rescue the planet before the air becomes unbreathable or that oceans will rise all the way to the Missouri border. Land or housing will become a premium or not existent with people in camps all across the world, Wealthy people will not even be able to buy their way out of the situation. The average human will have learned some new ways to exist from their ancestors before them, They would have studied survival. The human race will not disappear but only the strong will make it. What a way to have to live with a changing planet that could have been better with just a little help.

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