Some Things My Dad (a Nasa Scientist) Said Over Breakfast, on Family Vacation, About Climate Change.

  1. It’s too late. It’s over. The feedback loop has already started. If we stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow, we’d still be screwed.
  2. The tundra is already melting. That alone will double the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  3. Not to mention methane. There are gigatons of methane under the permafrost. Methane is two hundred times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. When that gets going, we're toast.
  4. The West Antarctic ice sheet is already melting. That will raise the sea level by 10 feet. Maybe in your lifetime.
  5. There’s a lot more ice out there than that. When Greenland and the rest of Antarctica melts completely, which they will, the sea level will rise a couple hundred feet.
  6. When that happens, the Earth's landmass will shrink. The coast will change. Half world’s major cities will disappear. Gone. Some of them, you won’t even have any idea they were there. Nothing left to see.
  7. That will certainly happen within a couple thousand years, but it’s moving so much faster than expected, could be sooner. Maybe three hundred years? Who knows.
  8. Temperatures will rise so much, half the world will be inhospitable. The western United States: empty. The American South, too hot to live in.
  9. Oh sure, you could grow wine grapes in Canada, but northern viticulture isn’t going to help you fight off the mass migrations. Unless you can drink your Albertan wine in a fortified airship, who cares?
  10. There’s a pretty good winery up the road here, by the way. We went last time, with the Aranoffs. Let’s go for a tasting after lunch.
  11. All the parasitic insects that go dormant during the winter, or don't like the cold, will be active year round. The Mountain Pine Beetle and others will eat all the trees. The North American forests, gone.
  12. Weather patterns could change completely. What happens if the monsoon collapses, and there’s no more agriculture in the densely inhabited tropical regions? A couple billion people will starve in just a few years.
  13. And the fucking Republicans still won’t believe it, even when they’re floating through Lake Washington DC in a goddamn raft made out of bibles — they’ll still have some Exxon-paid shill, rowing in the back, saying “let’s wait and see what the science says!”
  14. The water shortages, food shortages, land displacement — the world will be fighting resources wars. With drones and nanobots and god knows what. Thankfully, I’ll be safely dead.
  15. Can you pass the pancakes? This is really good maple syrup you brought!
  16. Then again, if we didn’t heat up the planet ourselves, we’d be due for another ice age. They’re cyclical, based on the planet’s moving polar angle. Don’t forget: 10,000 years ago, Manhattan was under two miles of ice! And it would be again. Civilization got lucky — the Holocene (that’s our geological era) — has been unusually mild. We're a fluke!
  17. Maybe a couple thousand years is enough time to colonize Mars though.
  18. Where did you get this maple syrup? You can taste the smokiness. Jesus is this good.