NPS Climate Change Response [CC BY 2.0 (]
NPS Climate Change Response [CC BY 2.0 (]

Since we’re all in a cheerful mood, I’d like to take a moment to talk about snow.

I love the stuff. The local economy where I live is based on the stuff. It lets me snowboard in the winter and stops my house from burning down in the summer. Currently it’s dumping where I live and closing major interstate traffic. This is awesome.

Which is to say that the recent findings, as discussed in the 2019 Arctic Report Card, that the artic is now an enemy in the fight against global warming instead of a valued ally is not great.

The arctic has traditionally been a huge source of carbon sequestration. Specifically the permafrost traps “1,460-1,600 billion metric tons of organic carbon, about twice as much as currently contained in the atmosphere”. That’s a lot. For comparison, the US annually releases around 5 billion metric tons.

Now, that’s not to say that this is all going to get released in one huge burst and we’re all going to die. I still think Yellowstone has a better chance of instantly killing us all. But what is going to happen is it’s going to accelerate the rate of warming. And the more we warm the more it’s going to accelerate. It’s a harsh cycle.

Fortunately there’s still time to fix things. If we really work hard globally, we can start producing negative emissions and stop this cycle. Or invent a time machine and fix it thirty years ago. Or suddenly get really good at sequestration.

In a related note, I’m selling a house in a very nice Colorado ski town.



  1. There are so many frustrating things about this:
    1) Fossil fuel companies knew about this stuff in the 80’s, and spent their money fighting facts and the release of said facts, rather than on modernisation and forward-thinking projects;
    2) There are STILL those who will point out this season’s snow and say ‘See? Global warming is FAKE.’ like more snow or rain than normal (or earlier than normal; or in an area other than normal) somehow negates planetwide rising CO2/extreme temperatures;
    3) Corporations, manufacturing, and farming will still largely continue doing business as usual, while continuing to shift the burden of recycling onto the consumer, as if an individual could ever combat our single-sized, safety-sealed, individually packaged, plastic-wrapped ready-to-use item (inc plastic-wrapped plastic utensil!) society. Sure!

    And what of the production costs (in both fossil fuels, and to the environment) of said plastics? (ima find some articles)

    • I don’t have it to hand but someone showed me a clipping from somewhere around the WW1 era that made no bones about being aware that the large quantities of CO2 being generated by industry were a problem that was only likely to escalate & needed attention.

      Much like the link between cigarettes and carcinogens, it’s taken longer than seems reasonable to communicate to the “average person” but it isn’t because nobody figured it out until recently…

    • To your second point, this is another instance where the people on the other side got to define the terms. Imagine how much easier this debate would be had we gone with “climate change” from the start. Change can be hotter and colder, wetter and drier. Every knucklehead with a GED can try and use that ridiculous line that it’s snowing so it can’t be global warming and think they don’t have to listen anymore. Which sucks.

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