The Copenhagen climate conference began today. Because of our policy of not inflicting our political opinions on our loyal readers, we don’t intend to weigh in on the political issues of the conference. But our brief here is to keep you informed about birds, so we feel an obligation to keep you informed about things that affect birds, including global climate change. With that in mind, here is a brief and good summary of the history of mankind’s knowledge about the issue at this New York Times timeline, published today.
Three facts seem beyond dispute: The atmosphere now contains about 387 parts per million of carbon dioxide, the highest level in 15 million years; the atmosphere is warmer now than it has been in 12,000 years; and more than 90% of all species that ever lived on the earth are extinct, with no reason appearing to suppose that humanity is any more exempt from that risk than the House Sparrows draining our feeders in anticipation of the year’s first big snowstorm, scheduled to arrive tonight. They’ve been through two large scoops in the last three hours.
Earth (and the moon) are the little tiny white dot in the upper right of this NASA/JPL photograph taken from the Cassini spacecraft in 2006 from a distance of 1.5 billion kilometers. (930 million miles)