When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, global warming was a slow-moving environmental problem that was easy to ignore. Now it is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid.
Since Clinton's inauguration, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the equivalent of Alaska, California and Texas. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.
Scientists are increasingly anxious, talking more often and more urgently about exceeding "tipping points."
"We're out of time," Stanford University biologist Terry Root said. "Things are going extinct."
U.S. emissions have increased by 20 percent since 1992. China has more than doubled its carbon dioxide pollution in that time. World carbon dioxide emissions have grown faster than scientists' worst-case scenarios. Methane, the next most potent greenhouse gas, suddenly is on the rise again and scientists fear that vast amounts of the trapped gas will escape from thawing Arctic permafrost.
The amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere has already pushed past what some scientists say is the safe level.
Mother Nature, of course, is oblivious to the federal government's machinations. Ironically, 2008 is on pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it's thanks to a La Nina weather variation. While skeptics are already using it as evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming.
Of course, real scientists are objecting to this kind of shark jumping histrionics.
Scientists skeptical of the assertion that climate change is the result of man's activities are criticizing a recent Associated Press report on global warming, calling it "irrational hysteria," "horrifically bad" and "incredibly biased."
They say the report, which was published on Monday, contained sweeping scientific errors and was a one-sided portrayal of a complicated issue.
"If the issues weren't so serious and the ramifications so profound, I would have to laugh at it," said David Deming, a geology professor at the University of Oklahoma who has been critical of media reporting on the climate change issue.
In the article, Obama Left with Little Time to Curb Global Warming, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein wrote that global warming is "a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid," and that "global warming is accelerating."
Deming, in an interview, took issue with Borenstein's characterization of a problem he says doesn't exist.
"He says global warming is accelerating. Not only is it continuing, it's accelerating, and whether it's continuing that was completely beyond the evidence," Deming told FOXNews.com.
"The mean global temperature, at least as measured by satellite, is now the same as it was in the year 1980. In the last couple of years sea level has stopped rising. Hurricane and cyclone activity in the northern hemisphere is at a 24-year low and sea ice globally is also the same as it was in 1980."
Deming said the article is further evidence of the media's decision to talk about global warming as fact, despite what he says is a lack of evidence.
"Reporters, as I understand reporters, are supposed to report facts,"Deming said. "What he's doing here is he's writing a polemic and reporting it as fact, and that's not right. It's not reporting. It's propaganda.
"This reads like a press release for an environmental advocacy group like Greenpeace. It's not fair and balanced."
I would love to hear Seth Borenstein order lunch, it would probably go something like, "look man, I'm hungry, the blue plate was supposed to be here in like 5 minutes. I don't have 20 minutes to eat. My stomach is already touching my SPINE! My god hurry that food!"
Hey Seth, are you saying that It Could Happen Tomorrow? At least their hurricane ice storms were interesting.