Friday, November 25, 2005

What Really Matters : CO2 Levels and Climate Change.

In the grand scale of things, the war in Iraq, terrorism, the French riots or Bush himself all seem irrelevant news compared to this:

A new European study looking at ice taken from 3km below the surface of Antarctica pulished in the Journal of Science, today has concluded that current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the last 650,000 years.

The project leader Thomas Stocker from the University of Bern, Switzerland said:
"We find that CO2 is about 30% higher than at any time, and methane 130% higher than at any time; and the rates of increase are absolutely exceptional: for CO2, 200 times faster than at any time in the last 650,000 years."
This only confirms what has been know for a long time about the rise of greenhouse gases:
Some climate experts not involved in the research said the findings also confirmed that the buildup of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe emissions was taking the atmosphere into uncharted territory. (NYTimes)
Another study reported in the Journal of Sciene also claims that for the last 150 years, sea levels have been rising twice as fast as in previous centuries.
I don't know how much this is going to make the headlines, especially in the American media but it is high public opinion should pressure their governments. Next week, the UN Climate Change Conference begins in Montreal.
So far, the US - the world's biggest polluter - has rejected the Kyoto protocol claiming it was too costly and wrongly excluded developing nations. The result is that this gives plenty of excuses for develloping countries to follow the path of the rich nations and global warming will only worsen.
The Kyoto protocol ends in 2012 so a new round of talks is going to begin in Montreal. The main problem is that the Bush administrations has [as we have all been clearly aware of with Iraq] a very short-sighted view. After years of denial and misuse of science, they have finally acknowledged the reality of the contribution of human activity to climate change. But now their absurd philosophy is to
rely on free-market mechanisms and the widespread introduction of new technologies to improve energy efficiency and slash pollution.
This is idiotic because technologies will take years to improve enough to have a significant impact on CO2 emissions and free-market mechanhisms are concerned with short term benefits, not with long term needs.


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