The Bad News from Tom and Jerry

Elizabeth Kolbert is becoming the New Yorker writer I most dread reading. In the most recent issue she describes the findings of a pair of satellites, nicknamed Tom and Jerry, which have been chasing each other around the planet for the last couple years measuring the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Every estimate we’ve had of potential global-warming-induced sea-level rise over the past decade has been based on the presumption that while the Antarctic is losing ice at the edges, it’s being compensated by increased snow over the continent.

Tom and Jerry say it ain’t so. The Antarctic is losing ice overall. Add that to the news of the unexpectedly fast pace of melt in Greenland, and I start to wonder if those of us living in the Netherlands need to start thinking about a move to hgher ground sooner rather than later.

The conservative media machine is already in full spin. Since denying Global Warming is now beginning to wear thin as a strategy, they’ve adopted a new tack: So there’s gonna be poverty, and floods, and extreme weather — we should deal with those issues directly rather than the CO2 problem. Kolbert deliciously describes this as the equivalent of treating diabetes with doughnuts. 

I wish the New Yorker would keep The Talk of the Town online. They don’t, but this was from the March 20th issue. Elizabeth Kobert’s book, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,” just came out.

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