Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh no! Not the wine!

This is a bit like the strike of the doormen in New York: for the rich who enjoy this service, the need is great. For the rest of us, it's hard to see the need as anything other than laughable.

All tendentious and serious: Grapes are so sensitive to climate, the wine industry will be among the first to be affected by climate change. Why then, oh why are people in the industry doing virtually nothing to mitigate the effects of climate change?

One guy says: to mitigate, you would have to know what changes specifically are coming. No one knows that, but we do know it is wise to reduce CO2 emissions, so we should all do that. Well, there are a few big if's in there.

The writer repeats as fact assertions that are not exactly peer-reviewed. The Alps are losing ice because of climate change. The proof: one valley where an ancient body was uncovered. Also the hearsay of someone who has experience up there. Bangladesh is running out of drinking water because of climate change. Er, would that be the melting of the Himalayan glaciers? Not likely.

Even yesterday, though, Hasnain was unrepentant, telling the South Asia Times that it is "ridiculous" to assume that the glaciers are not melting. This was matched by a piece in the Times of India headlined, "Himalayan glaciers here to stay". It told us:

The prediction that glaciers would melt by 2035 by Professor Syed Iqbal Hasnain may have landed the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairman R K Pachauri in a tight spot, but data collected by glaciologists across the Himalayan region shows that such claims do not hold water, and the major rivers originating from the Himalayas would continue to flow for the years to come as the glaciers are going to stay.

Glaciologist Milap Chand Sharma from Jawaharlal Nehru University says after studying 27 glaciers in Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, he has found that the melting taking place is normal. His conclusion is based on study of the behaviour of glaciers from 1975 to 2008.

The Miyar glacier in Lahaul region covers an area of 27 square km. Since 1971, it has receded by just 150 meters. If it continues to melt at this pace, it would take around 3,000 years for it to melt completely, he added.

There was a heat wave in Europe in 2006. That has to prove something. Or wait, are we supposed to say that weather isn't climate?

Heat might give wine a higher alcohol content, like some of the California wines today. "I like some of those wines a lot," a very green Italian vintner hastens to say--presumably trying to be polite. But let's face it, wine becomes less of a leisurely sipping drink when it is so potent. Boo. Hoo. Hoo.

Let's cut to the chase. According to this article by Mark Hertsgaard in Slate, how much wine has been spoiled so far by the deadly scourge of climate change. How much? In the name of God, please tell me how much wine has been spoiled? As far as one can tell: not one bottle, not one glass, not one drop.

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