Monday, October 12, 2009

Freezing my arse off in Russia: Where's global warming when you need it!

Here I am, back in my nice warm hotel room in Petrozavidsk, Russia, after having bravely struggled out into rain, sleet, hail and dead of night in search of this northern industrial city's main post office. In Russia, the place to look for an internet cafe is inside a post office. But the news from home was worth all that trouble because my friend Larry just e-mailed me a BBC article about possible accelerated global warming.

According to the BBC article, scientists have recently analysed a whole bunch of earth and ice core samples, dating back through at least 20 million years. Scientists were looking for climate-change patterns from the past that might shed light on today's climate patterns -- and they found some: Historically, the earth's ice caps have consistently melted whenever there was a level of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

According to the BBC report, " the last few million years, [carbon dioxide levels] cycled between 180ppm and 280ppm in rhythm with the sequence of ice ages and warmer interglacial periods. Now, humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases are pushing towards the 400ppm range, which will very likely be reached within a decade." Within a decade? Wow.

And not only that but, if history keeps repeating itself, our sea levels are also gonna be rising a whole bunch too. "[Former carbon dioxide] levels similar to those now commonly regarded as adequate to tackle climate change were associated with sea levels 25-40 meters (80-130 feet) higher than today."

In other words, if the earth continues to follow the same pattern that it has held to over the last 20 million years, then as our current carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, both of our polar ice caps will melt relatively soon and the earth's weather will get a lot warmer. However. This is NOT going to happen soon enough to help me! I'm here in Russia right now, freezing my arse off!

Oh crap. This means that I'm going to have to stay in Russia for a whole DECADE before things here start to warm up.

When, however, this new climate change does finally arrive, Russia, unlike all those unfortunate countries located in the lower latitudes, will be benefiting bigtime. Climate change is really going to be of help here in the Red states!

Our escalating climate change could be disastrous for Africa, Europe, Central America and other places like The Maldives, Hawaii and Palau. But here in The Motherland, climate change will be a good thing. So instead of having sleet storms in September and blizzards in May like it does now, Russia's climate would apparently become more like our current continental America's climate -- and not so much like Alaska's. For Russia, climate change could turn out to be the ultimate perk.

But too bad it's not going to happen in time to help me. I shoulda brought my electric blanket.

However, in seven or eight years I'm going to start seriously thinking about moving to Alaska. Or Canada. Or Vermont. (Canada and Vermont are my first choices -- they have single-payer healthcare!) And if anyone out there is a real estate developer, you know what to do. Invest in condos and time-shares in Siberia....

And speaking of single-payer healthcare, for all of those people who keep telling me, "If you want socialist healthcare, then go move to Russia," I have this to say.

"You obviously haven't been to Russia lately. The New Russia has really changed a lot." I'd move here in a minute because they have lovely forests, a high standard of living, no war in the Middle East to bleed them dry financially, lots of nice people -- and the internet! The only thing that Russia doesn't have right now, and that California has lots of, is lovely warm weather. But that is obviously all about to change.

America may have a whole bunch of super-power weapons at its disposal, but Putin has the ultimate secret weapon -- global warming.

PS: Someone else just told me that China has invented a process that actually removes carbon dioxide from the earth's atmosphere. How cool is that. "And then they bury it deep under the ground." Does this mean that the buried carbon dioxide will be subjected to the earth's heat and pressure so that in a just few million years China will have an endless supply of coal, oil and diamonds? Very clever.

Nature has also thought of a way to remove carbon dioxide from the air. It's called a Tree. And Russia has more trees than I've ever seen anywhere.

PPS: Here's a video-tape of me strolling through The Hermitage while kvetching about American healthcare: