Monday, August 10, 2009

Climate Change

There is some good news about climate change and that is that energy and climate experts say that the world already has the technology and know-how for cutting back on greenhouse gases enough to slow the rise of the Earth's temperature. The problem is because of the immense cost of addressing global warming, congress so far will barely make a dent in the problem. Seems like money is always the problem, it's better to make money than to spend it, but in these trying times spending might just be the only sensible solution.

There are many problems and consequences that come along with climate change. We have talked about in class how certain areas that are below sea level will most likely be gone along with about 500 or more animal species going extinct. But one problem that could be very serious that does not get talked about much would be our drinking water supply. With the melting of the polar glaciers it causes the sea level to rise and with the rise of the sea level it could contaminate our fresh water springs and rivers from which we get our drinking water.

"The melt of glaciers is resulting in higher sea levels and affecting ecosystems and the rivers that emanate from these glaciers, Josberger said. "In terms of water supply available for people, Anchorage is fed by two glacially fed lakes. There are some very strong impacts that could happen." (CNN).

The biggest thing about global warming is that it is not an American issue and it isn't a North American issue, but it is in fact, a Global issue. Most technologies that could reduce greenhouse gases are not only expensive but would need to be embraced on a global scale (Washington Post). There are projections that are thought to be necessary by the year 2030 and they are as follows; 1 million wind turbines throughout the world, massive reforestation, billions of solar panels (enough to cover half of jersey), major retooling of the auto industry, and as many as 400 power plants need to be refitted with new and pricey equipment to trap carbon dioxide and store it under the ground (Washington Post).

When I process all of this information and look over it(and it's probably a lot easier for me to say but..) I just don't understand why we can't start taking action now. I mean the facts are all right there, now obviously we can't predict the future per say but I think we have a pretty good idea of what we are in store for in the future due to the rapid climate change. Last year world military spending amounted to about $1.4 trillion, of which the U.S. accounted for about half (FOXNEWS). We seem to have no problem spending money on weaponry and bombs to protect each other from each other, but what it all boils down to is that the weapons we have won't mean anything when half of the world's animals are dead, countries are under water, and our drinking supply is shorted.

There are some good things happening like the MEF ( The Declaration of the MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM on Energy and Climate) which will follow up on the kyoto protocol which expires in 2012. MEF comprises of 17 developed and developing economies- Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US. It is all in efforts to keep the Earth's temeperature from rising 2 degrees celsius of the pre-industrial average (Council on Foreign Relations).

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that climate change is the greatest challenge facing a world beset by crises and call on governments to reach a deal on the environment at a meeting in Denmark later this year. Ban said the world has "less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet." (FOXNEWS)

It is understandable that Climate Change can be a bit slow going in terms of slowing it down and rectifying the situation with all of the other problems and issues that are going on globally in the world today like the oil crisis, disease, hunger and the economy. With all of the figures which most clearly state that if something isn't done we are going to be living in a whole new world by 2050 something needs to be done quickly. 2050 is a mere forty years away so we cannot just leave global warming and climate change on the back bunner for much longer. Something needs to be done and done soon or the future of the world and the human race could very well be at stake.

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