Myron (Mike) Stagman, PhD
Concerned Citizens Information Networkwww.ccin.info
[environmental website: information on Drastic Climate Change, Genetic Engineering, and the Destruction of Nature which Climate Change and Genetic Engineering are promising to accomplish]www.MyronStagman.com
Doomsday Global Warming: Fact-Sheet/What To Do? I. Global Warming (Drastic Climate Change): Fact-Sheet
For the past 30 years in particular, due to heavy air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels (oil. gas, coal), global temperatures have risen dramatically -- with equally damaging effects. A continuation of the pattern will lead -- and swiftly -- to disastrous climate changes obvious to the most unobservant.
Heat-trapping gases ("greenhouse" gases) are the poisonous causes, produced especially by carbon dioxide emissions poured out from airplanes, automobile tailpipes, power plants, industrial smokestacks.
Global Warming has already brought about the breaking up of arctic ice shelves and the retreat of mountain glaciers. It has brought about changes in winds and currents in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
These in turn cause extreme weather events with countless human and wildlife victims -- storms, floods, droughts, soaring temperatures in some places and plunging temperatures in others.
["Kilmanjaro's 'Perpetual Snows' Melt Away" , International Herald Tribune, 20 February 2001. "The ice cap atop Mount Kilmanjaro, which for thousands of years has floated like a cool beacon over the shimmering equatorial plain of Tanzania, is retreating at such a pace that it will disappear in less than 15 years, according to studies.
["The vanishing of the seemingly perpetual snows of Kilmanjaro that inspired Ernest Hemingway, echoed by similar trends on ice-capped peaks from Peru to Tibet, is one of the clearest signs that a global warming in the last 50 years appears to have exceeded climate shifts and is at least partly caused by gases released by human activities, a variety of scientists say."]
Sahara desert conditions are insidiously invading parts of southern Europe, while Siberia has had temperatures dipping below minus 50 degrees centigrade (minus 58 Fahrenheit).
Britain and parts of northern Europe have seen widespread flooding. In other parts of the world, shorelines have been destroyed.
Environmental refugees, people who lost their livelihoods and homes due to drastic climate change, clamour to enter northern countries, such as the UK.
[The inhabitants of the south Pacific Island of Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, and low-lying islands of Papua New Guinea "are all preparing to evacuate their lands forever as rising sea levels threaten their homes now. For them, as for the families of the many thousands of people across Europe who lost their lives in last year's heatwave, climate change is not about the day after tomorrow, it is about today".
[The Ecologist, July/August 2004]
Animals and birds have lost their natural habitats, particularly from droughts and a loss of wetlands and estuaries. Animal and plant species have become extinct.
["North Sea birds dying as waters heat up: Scientists warn that warmer conditions could have a catastrophic effect on east coast ecosystem". The Observer, 20 June 2004. "Climate change is ridding the North Sea of its precious stocks of plankton, the microscopic organisms on which all life in the sea depends. As the very building blocks of the food chain disappear, fish and the birds that feed on them, such as the puffin and guillemot, are starving to death in what has been their natural home for thousands of years."]
Malarial mosquitoes have extended their range, and events like this cause side-effects such as increases in the use of toxic pesticides.
Money: A report in early June 2004 by the Association of British Insurers deals with financial losses in their industry, past and projected, from climate change. "The financial losses caused by natural catastrophes have increased seven-fold within the last 40 years."
Losses will continue to escalate. "A major coastal flood affecting London costing £40 billion in insurance claims alone" will occur before 2050. "The ABI report is distressing reading for anyone tempted to see global warming as meaning longer summers. It will also mean heat stress, skin cancer, food poisoning, exotic diseases such as malaria, and drought."
(Guardian editorial, 11 June 2004)
"Collateral damage" -- Fossil fuels cause other damage occasioned by giant businesses and the governments they influence -- wars (e.g. in Afghanistan and Iraq), oil spills (e.g. the Exxon Valdez catastrophe in Alaska; the 200,000 gallons dumped near the pristine Galapagos islands off of Chile), European spills such as the fairly recent Spanish disaster; Cancer, derived in significant part from air pollution.
On the latter point, it is worth quoting the U.S. National Institutes of Health publication, Cancer -- Rates and Risks (4th edition): "Air Pollution. Pollutants in the urban air have long been suspect as causes of lung cancer. . . . Of special concern are products from the combustion of fossil fuels found principally in motor vehicle exhausts (especially diesel engines), residential and commercial space heating, oil and coal-fired power plants, and industrial emissions."
The overall economic losses stretch into the trillions of dollars -- already. According to the New Scientist (1 May 2004), Australia alone, due to extraordinary drought conditions in recent years, has experienced US$5 billion in lost production.
[Estimates of economic losses do not include financial losses from the Iraq War, fought primarily over oil, that has cost to this date (spring 2004) about 100 billion dollars, with another half-trillion dollars estimated to go for the rebuilding of the country. Fossil fuels must be replaced.]
Global Warming threatens
-- to get much, much worse.
-- to drive one million species of animals and plants to extinction within a few decades.
"A quarter of known land animals and plants, more than a million species, will eventually die out because of the global warming that will take place over the next 50 years, the most important study of its kind has concluded.
"International scientists from eight countries have warned that, based even on the most conservative estimates, rising temperatures will trigger a global mass extinction of unprecedented proportions."
[The Independent, 8 January 2004, "Revealed: how global warming will cause extinction of a million species", by Steve Connor, Science Editor]
[Example. Europe -- "Many birds are threatened by climate change due to the loss of climatically suitable habitats. The red kite could lose up to 86 per cent of its range as a result of warmer temperatures -- an additional pressure following centuries of persecution." (Independent)]
[Example. South Africa -- "The Cape Floristic Region is one of the six richest plant regions in the world. The toffee-apple conebrush is found in just a few localities and it is predicted that all of them will become climatically unsuitable by 2050 -- a major dieback of the plant has already occurred following extensive droughts. (Independent)]
Global Warming threatens
-- to create 20 million environmental refugees per year. By 2050, the total may reach 150 million displaced persons.
-- According to a secret U.S. Pentagon report, suppressed for 4 months by President Bush (prompted by the Giant Oil Lobby), the passage of a mere 20 years may see the deaths of millions of people from wars and natural disasters, mega-droughts, famine, a rise in sea levels inundating large areas, water and energy shortages, violent storms, and a multitude of internal conflicts caused by these events.
Within 15 years time, it is predicted, Europe will become much colder. Britain will likely fare worse than other European countries.
[The Guardian, 22 April 2004. "Global warming floods threaten 4m in UK". During the next 50 years, "up to 4 million Britons [are] facing the prospect of their homes being inundated, according to a report to be published today by the government."]
The Pentagon report concluded that Climate Change "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a U.S. national security concern." (See The Observer, 22 February 2004.)
- - - - - - - - - -
What Can We Do About Global Warming?
[Repeat: It threatens to drive one million species of animals and plants to extinction within a few decades;
to create 20 million environmental refugees per year]
Obviously, we must drastically reduce greenhouse, carbon gas emissions. We can achieve this imperative goal via
(a) energy conservation in transport, industry, at home, and (most importantly, because conservation is stopgap at best -- and thinking of China and India, it's not even that):
b) furthering green (clean and renewable) energy technologies while limiting and phasing out polluting energy sources.
I. Polluters and Polluting Agents to Target:
a. Fossil-Fuel Lobbies -- oil & gas, coal, automobile and aviation industries.
b. Put an end to the £50 billion ($75 billion) a year spent by the rich countries to subsidize fossil fuel industries. Divert money from the radioactivity-polluting, inefficient nuclear power industry.
c. Make the Polluters pay for the damage they do -- via legislation, compensation claims in courts of law. Let taxation become an awfully heavy burden for the fossil fuel, automobile and aviation industries.
d. The United States, with 4% of the world's population, accounts for 25% of the world's greenhouse-gas pollution. Americans indulge in fuel-inefficient vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks.
The Bush Government, moreover, renounced the Kyoto Accord on cutting global carbon emissions after the Clinton Administration had signed the international treaty.
The Bush (Harken Energy oil corporation)--Cheney (Halliburton Energy oilfields corporation)-Condeleeza Rice (former director at Chevron Oil)-- etc. -- administration is an Oil-Lobby government.
e. The rich, developed countries cause 80% of the problem. (The UK's share is 3%).
f. Cut down on the sale and use of automobiles. Among other things, curtail usage by prohibiting car travel to certain areas on certain days (as in Athens, Greece).
II. Positive Measures
a. Public transport -- promote publicly-owned, public transport, and subsidised so economical fares encourage its use.
b. Stop building roads and new airports. Put the money into public transport, into railways, buses, cycleways and walkways. And bring back ship travel at non-luxury prices.
c. Encourage bicycling, walking (and jogging). Become healthier while the planet becomes so.
d. We should become more economical in the use of electricity around the house and in offices, such as turning off lights, TV sets, computers; such as not using air-conditioning unless you really need it (a characteristically American failing).
e. Recyclie plastic (which is an oil-based material); phase out plastic containers.
f. Use biodegradable packaging.
g.. For use against carbon dioxide, there is a micro-organism called 'cyanobacteria' (green slime) that can consume carbon dioxide. The main problem is to apply cyanobacteria to an operational power plant. (One of the problems with the application process has already been solved by an undergradiuate student at Ohio University. The problem involved providing light in a smokestack.)
Research and develop things like this -- but without allowing patents.
III. Save our forests, which act as 'carbon sinks'. But absolutely do not genetically engineer trees, and eliminate those GM trees already misbegotten.
IV. Develop clean, renewable energy sources: These include solar energy, geothermal, tidal, biomass, combined heat and power schemes (CHP), hydrogen technology, and bio-diesel.
[NOT wind power -- extremely inefficient and destructive of Nature and scenic beauty; or, of course, nuclear power, for obvious reasons]
Flower Power -- (New Scientist, 1 May 2004, by Philip Hunter) The mystery of how plants derive energy from sunlight by splitting water molecules is solved at last. Now the challenge is to do the same in the lab. The reward is . . . unlimited energy.