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Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

See no warming, hear no warming, speak no warming

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Two ostriches with their heads buried in the sand were having a conversation. The first ostrich said, chuckling, “Man can you believe it — all those wild stories about the earth heating up and the oceans rising?”

“It’s just those whacko environmentalists and ultra left-wing liberals trying to scare everyone,” said the other.

“Man you’re right about that. Hey what’s that smell?”

“I dunno; lemme see,” said the second ostrich, pulling his head from the sand. “Whoa!”

“What is it?” asked the first ostrich.

“Man, your butt’s on fire!”

“What should I do?”

“Not to worry, the water is already up to your knees.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1988 to examine the world’s scientific community’s take on global warming. More than 2,500 scientists from 100 countries around the world contributed to the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report.

According to the report, some of the observed changes in response to warming over the last century include shrinking glaciers, thawing permafrost, earlier seasonal break-up of river and lake ice, lengthening of growing seasons, declines of some plant and animal ranges and earlier tree flowering and insect emergence among a host of others.

The report states that Arctic Sea ice has shrunk by 2.7 percent per decade since 1978; 1998 through 2005 included five of the six warmest years on record; global sea levels rose more than 3 millimeters a year between 1993 and 2003; mountain glaciers and polar land ice have melted faster than they have formed over the last 40 years; permafrost temperatures have increased and the area covered by seasonally frozen ground has decreased by about 7 percent over the past 50 years.

The part of the report that has the U.S. and world corporate/industrial complex doling out big bucks to scientists who will disparage global warming are the ties to human activities. The report states that there is widespread evidence of anthropogenic warming in temperature observations from the earth’s surface — from the atmosphere and from the oceans. According to the report, greenhouse gas forcing has been the single most dominant cause of global warming over the past 50 years.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Web site, “Scientists have concluded that human activities are contributing to global warming by adding large amounts of heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. Our fossil fuel use is the main source of these gases. Every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal-fired power plants, or heat our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the air. The second most important source of greenhouse gases is deforestation, mainly in the tropics, and other land-use changes.

“Since pre-industrial times, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 31 percent. Over the same period, atmospheric methane has risen by 151 percent, mostly from agricultural activities like growing rice and raising cattle.

“As the concentration of these gases grows, more heat is trapped by the atmosphere and less escapes back into space. This increase in trapped heat changes the climate, causing altered weather patterns that can bring unusually intense precipitation or dry spells and more severe storms.”

And according to the IPCC’s report if the status quo continues, the earth’s surface temperature will likely increase between 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. And if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases now, the climate would not stabilize for decades because of the gasses we have already released.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the emission of greenhouse gases has risen (and continues to rise) exponentially since the advent of the industrial age. To think that these millions of tons of emissions would have no effect on the earth’s climate and/or environment is to join the ostriches.

 

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