In a segment broadcast Monday night, progressive talk host Thom Hartmann doubled down on the true threat of climate change, explaining the oceanic biology that underpins all life on planet Earth, then highlighting how Republicans at nearly every level of government are leading the charge to crush it.
The situation has grown so dire and the hour so late, he said, that it is now fair to describe anti-science policies pursued by Republican as “helping to destroy all life on Earth.”
Tiny, ocean-dwelling plants called phytoplankton, which act as the basement level of the planet’s food chain and supply about half of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, have been dying off at an increasing rate due to ocean acidification brought on by climate change.
“This is a catastrophic shakeup of the global food chain,” Hartmann explained Monday night.
But it’s not just the food chain that’s in trouble: should all the plankton die off, the composition of Earth’s atmosphere will change significantly as well.
“They phytoplankton are being killed off by a one-two punch of warmer waters, changing salinity levels and most importantly, increasing levels of carbonic acid in the ocean — acid formed when the ocean absorbs the carbon dioxide that we are pumping into the atmosphere when we burn coal, oil, gasoline and natural gas,” Hartmann said.
To make matters worse, ancient pete bogs under the polar ice caps are being exposed to the open air for the first time in millions of years due to the ice melt, causing them to decay and release large quantities of methane into the atmosphere. If enough ice melts, scientists worry it could trigger a “tipping point” that causes climate change to rapidly accelerate.
“Meanwhile, phytoplankton continue to die off because global temperatures are rising,” Hartmann concluded. “If we haven’t already hit a tipping point when it comes to climate change, unless something is done very, very quickly, we will very soon.”
This video is from Thom Hartmann’s The Big Picture, broadcast by Russia Today on Monday, June 11, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.