Saturday, February 03, 2007

Our man-made catastrophe

According to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming is "very likely" caused by human activities and has become a runaway train that cannot be stopped.

In a report that was leaked to the press a full 8 hours before it was to be published, the IPCC said that temperatures will rise 3.2 to 7.8 degrees by 2100. It also projects that sea levels will rise between 7 and 23 inches over the century, probably more given the rate of the ice melt from Greenland, and the Larson B ice shelf in Antarctica.

This particular report is a scientific document that doesn't offer solutions. Those are to come in another document to be released later this year. But if you have seen An Inconvenient Truth, you know there are solutions.

There is a virtual march to end global warming that can connect you with others who are working at home to become carbon neutral. Reduce your impact: turn off lights at home; recycle; use renewable energy sources. There are things we can do as individuals. We can also demand our local governments to take action.

The obvious solution would be to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, by reducing the use of fossil fuels in automobiles, factories and power plants. In California, the "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act" would ban incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs. The bill, introduced on January 31st by California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, would make California the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs as part of California's groundbreaking initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was designed to reduce such emissions, but some major countries, including the United States, China and India, have no defined targets. President Bush withdrew the U.S. from the protocol in 2001, arguing that it was an "economic straitjacket" and that it failed to set standards for developing nations. The U.S. can, and must, do better. If we cannot get our Federal Government to step up and make change, then other states must follow California's lead. And we, as individuals, must be the change we want to see in the world.

Never, never give up hope; never, never, fail to act.


Jake said...

don't forget "go vegetarian" in that list of things we can do. reducing or eliminating meat from your diet is probably the single biggest thing you can do to fight global warming. a recent UN report found that the livestock industry accounts for 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gases (more than cars!), and a university of chicago study concluded that switching from a typical american diet to a vegetarian diet reduces your contribution to global warming more than if you switched from a regular car to a hybrid. not to mention all the other environmental damage done by the meat industry, or the horrific suffering of the animals.

robin andrea said...

We must all act in our personal lives to do what we can. Yes. I just read about the meat industry impact on global warming, and I was amazed-- and glad that I am not a meat-eater. We can make a difference, although, I think population growth will probably undermine most efforts. There are just too many of us.

DivaJood said...

Jake, thanks for visiting. I didn't know about the livestock industry - this is good information. The other issue is that meat is hard on our bodies.

Robin, yes, overpopulation is a huge problem. But with religious extremism, it is unlikely that people will take steps to cut down population growth.

pekka said...

I find the latest developements encouraging. The biggest problems dealing with the global warming has been the general ignorance of the masses, lack of the leadership, and the blatant misinformation by the special interest groups such as the oil and coal lobby. Their influence, however, is rapidly decreasing and the denialists have become ever increasingly anomalous.

I hear resignation in the comments here. I understand that the levels of carbon dioxide today are going to stick around for a long while but, if we so decide, we can turn this situation around even with the technologies we have now and, like with everything else, an invention begets a new ones. The huge attitude change has already taken place in Europe and place like China has been forced to take the second look at the problems created by it's break neck economical growth and the virtual absence of the enviromental protection. The time is the factor and that we don't have unlimited supply of. However, I feel right now, and the first time in a long while, much more confident about our future.