Given all the big news this week, the latest report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center hasn't gotten much attention. That's not exactly something new. Or surprising. Indeed, it's business as usual when it comes to global warming. Look, for instance, at the media coverage of the latest earth summit, Rio+20, last weekend. Go ahead. I've can wait five minutes for you to read it all.
True, it's hard to spark much interest when pretty much what was done in Brazil by those 50,000 delegates and other participants fighting all those traffic jams was to once again kick the global warming can down the road.
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo:
We didn't get the Future We Want in Rio, because we do not have the leaders we need. The leaders of the most powerful countries supported business as usual, shamefully putting private profit before people and the planet.Environmental activist and Guardian columnist George Monblot:
It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth's living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations?the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia?could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit in Rio last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue "sustained growth," the primary cause of the biosphere's losses.Lots of promises were made. The Natural Resources Defense Council has created a website specifically to track them. It's called Cloud of Commitments. It's a great idea. But forgive me if 20 years after the first earth summit in Rio, I've grown more than a little jaded about such vows. \
Meanwhile, there's those NSIDC data for the Arctic sea ice. It's at its lowest level ever for this time of year. The ice-loss rates are more than twice the climatological rate. Most of the snow cover is "nearly gone, earlier than normal, allowing the coastal land to warm faster."
When you look at that startling NSIDC graph below, remember that's it's not just ice and snow that's disappearing. Not just polar bear habitat. Not just the Northwest Passage opening up and the Arctic becoming available for the drilling of oil whose prodigious burning has contributed so heavily to the Arctic meltdown.
What you're looking at is the world changing forever in ways that we can only guess at. The kicked can has hit the wall. Sssssshhhhhhh. Don't tell any of our leaders.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004:
Enemy Combatants Can Challenge Detentions
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that an American captured overseas in President Bush's war on terrorism cannot be held indefinitely in a U.S. military jail without a chance to contest the detention.
Four of the nine justices concluded that constitutional due process rights demand that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant must be given "a meaningful opportunity" to contest case for his detention before a neutral party.
Two more justices agreed that the detention of American citizen Yaser Hamdi was unauthorized and that the terror suspect should have a real chance to offer evidence he is not an enemy combatant.
Suspects at Guantanamo Bay Can Use Courts
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that foreign terrorism suspects at a U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba can use the American legal system to challenge their detention, a major defeat for President Bush.
By a 6-3 vote, the justices ruled that American courts do have jurisdiction to consider the claims of the prisoners who say in their lawsuits they are being held illegally in violation of their rights.