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 CaribbeanChoice : General Discussion : News, Current Events & Politics
Message Icon Topic: "Global Warming....!!! Post Reply Post New Topic
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Shucander
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Topic: "Global Warming....!!!
    Posted: 12 May 2007 at 11:12pm
KYOTO PROTOCOL TO THE

UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

  The Parties to this Protocol,

Being Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, hereinafter referred to as "the Convention",

In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2,

Recalling the provisions of the Convention,

Being guided by Article 3 of the Convention,

Pursuant to the Berlin Mandate adopted by decision 1/CP.1 of the

Conference of the Parties to the Convention at its first session,

Have agreed as follows:

 
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Edited by Shucander - 12 May 2007 at 11:14pm
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Posted: 12 May 2007 at 11:30pm

 



Edited by Shucander - 12 May 2007 at 11:35pm
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Posted: 12 May 2007 at 11:31pm

What Is Global Warming?

Click%20here%20to%20find%20out%20more!

The Planet is Heating Up—and Fast

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It's becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years.

We call the result global warming, but it is causing a set of changes to the Earth's climate, or long-term weather patterns, that varies from place to place. As the Earth spins each day, the new heat swirls with it, picking up moisture over the oceans, rising here, settling there. It's changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely upon.

What will we do to slow this warming? How will we cope with the changes we've already set into motion? While we struggle to figure it all out, the face of the Earth as we know it—coasts, forests, farms and snow-capped mountains—hangs in the balance.

Greenhouse effect

The "greenhouse effect" is the warming that happens when certain gases in Earth's atmosphere trap heat. These gases let in light but keep heat from escaping, like the glass walls of a greenhouse.

First, sunlight shines onto the Earth's surface, where it is absorbed and then radiates back into the atmosphere as heat. In the atmosphere, “greenhouse” gases trap some of this heat, and the rest escapes into space. The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped.

Scientists have known about the greenhouse effect since 1824, when Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere. This greenhouse effect is what keeps the Earth's climate livable. Without it, the Earth's surface would be an average of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. In 1895, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that humans could enhance the greenhouse effect by making carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. He kicked off 100 years of climate research that has given us a sophisticated understanding of global warming.

Levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have gone up and down over the Earth's history, but they have been fairly constant for the past few thousand years. Global average temperatures have stayed fairly constant over that time as well, until recently. Through the burning of fossil fuels and other GHG emissions, humans are enhancing the greenhouse effect and warming Earth.

Scientists often use the term "climate change" instead of global warming. This is because as the Earth's average temperature climbs, winds and ocean currents move heat around the globe in ways that can cool some areas, warm others, and change the amount of rain and snow falling. As a result, the climate changes differently in different areas.

Aren’t temperature changes natural?

The average global temperature and concentrations of carbon dioxide (one of the major greenhouse gases) have fluctuated on a cycle of hundreds of thousands of years as the Earth's position relative to the sun has varied. As a result, ice ages have come and gone.

However, for thousands of years now, emissions of GHGs to the atmosphere have been balanced out by GHGs that are naturally absorbed.  As a result, GHG concentrations and temperature have been fairly stable. This stability has allowed human civilization to develop within a consistent climate.

Occasionally, other factors briefly influence global temperatures.  Volcanic eruptions, for example, emit particles that temporarily cool the Earth's surface.  But these have no lasting effect beyond a few years. Other cycles, such as El Niño, also work on fairly short and predictable cycles.

Now, humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than a third since the industrial revolution. Changes this large have historically taken thousands of years, but are now happening over the course of decades.

Why is this a concern?

The rapid rise in greenhouse gases is a problem because it is changing the climate faster than some living things may be able to adapt. Also, a new and more unpredictable climate poses unique challenges to all life.

Historically, Earth's climate has regularly shifted back and forth between temperatures like those we see today and temperatures cold enough that large sheets of ice covered much of North America and Europe. The difference between average global temperatures today and during those ice ages is only about 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), and these swings happen slowly, over hundreds of thousands of years.

Now, with concentrations of greenhouse gases rising, Earth's remaining ice sheets (such as Greenland and Antarctica) are starting to melt too. The extra water could potentially raise sea levels significantly.

As the mercury rises, the climate can change in unexpected ways. In addition to sea levels rising, weather can become more extreme. This means more intense major storms, more rain followed by longer and drier droughts (a challenge for growing crops), changes in the ranges in which plants and animals can live, and loss of water supplies that have historically come from glaciers.

Scientists are already seeing some of these changes occurring more quickly than they had expected. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eleven of the twelve hottest years since thermometer readings became available occurred between 1995 and 2006.

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Edited by Shucander - 12 May 2007 at 11:32pm
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Posted: 17 May 2007 at 1:41am

Causes of Global Warming

 

“As human-caused biodiversity loss and climate disruption gain ground, we need to keep our sights clear and understand that the measure of a threat is not a matter of whether it is made on purpose, but of how much loss it may cause. It's an ancient habit to go after those we perceive to be evil because they intended to do harm. It's harder, but more effective, to "go after," meaning to more effectively educate and socialize, those vastly larger numbers of our fellow humans who are not evil, but whose behavior may in fact be far more destructive in the long run." (Ed Ayres, editor of Worldwatch magazine, Nov/Dec 2001)


Carbon Dioxide from Power Plants

In 2002 about 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions stem from the burning of fossil fuels for the purpose of electricity generation. Coal accounts for 93 percent of the emissions from the electric utility industry. US Emissions Inventory 2004 Executive Summary p. 10

Coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil. Natural gas gives off 50% of the carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, released by coal and 25% less carbon dioxide than oil, for the same amount of energy produced. Coal contains about 80 percent more carbon per unit of energy than gas does, and oil contains about 40 percent more. For the typical U.S. household, a metric ton of carbon equals about 10,000 miles of driving at 25 miles per gallon of gasoline or about one year of home heating using a natural gas-fired furnace or about four months of electricity from coal-fired generation.

Carbon Dioxide Emitted from Cars
About 20% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions comes from the burning of gasoline in internal-combustion engines of cars and light trucks (minivans, sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, and jeeps).US Emissions Inventory 2004 Vehicles with poor gas mileage contribute the most to global warming. For example, according to the E.P.A's 2000 Fuel Economy Guide, a new Dodge Durango sports utility vehicle (with a 5.9 liter engine) that gets 12 miles per gallon in the city will emit an estimated 800 pounds of carbon dioxide over a distance of 500 city miles. In other words for each gallon of gas a vehicle consumes, 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted into the air.  [21]  A new Honda Insight that gets 61 miles to the gallon will only emit about 161 pounds of carbon dioxide over the same distance of 500 city miles. Sports utility vehicles were built for rough terrain, off road driving in mountains and deserts. When they are used for city driving, they are so much overkill to the environment. If one has to have a large vehicle for their family, station wagons are an intelligent choice for city driving, especially since their price is about half that of a sports utility. Inasmuch as SUV's have a narrow wheel base in respect to their higher silhouette, they are four times as likely as cars to rollover in an accident. [33]

The United States is the largest consumer of oil, using 20.4 million barrels per day. In his debate with former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, during the 2000 Presidential campaign, Senator Joseph Lieberman said, "If we can get 3 miles more per gallon from our cars, we'll save 1 million barrels of oil a day, which is exactly what the (Arctic National Wildlife) Refuge at its best in Alaska would produce." 

 If car manufacturers were to increase their fleets' average gas mileage about 3 miles per gallon, this country could save a million barrels of oil every day, while US drivers would save $25 billion in fuel costs annually.

Carbon Dioxide from Trucks
About another 13% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions comes from trucks used mostly for commercial purposes.[20]

Carbon Dioxide from Airplanes
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that aviation causes 3.5 percent of global warming, and that the figure could rise to 15 percent by 2050.

Carbon Dioxide from Buildings
Buildings
structure account for about 12% of carbon dioxide emissions.

Methane
While carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, methane is second most important. According to the IPCC, Methane is more than 20 times as
effective as CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. US Emissions Inventory 2004 Levels of atmospheric methane have risen 145% in the last 100 years. [18]  Methane is derived from sources such as rice paddies, bovine flatulence, bacteria in bogs and fossil fuel production. Most of the world’s rice, and all of the rice in the United States, is grown on flooded fields. When fields are flooded, anaerobic conditions develop and the organic matter in the soil decomposes, releasing CH4 to the atmosphere, primarily through the rice plants. US Emissions Inventory 2004

Nitrous oxide
Another greenhouse gas is Nitrous oxide (N2O), a colourless, non-flammable gas with a sweetish odour, commonly known as "laughing gas", and sometimes used as an anaesthetic. Nitrous oxide is naturally produced by oceans and rainforests. Man-made sources of nitrous oxide include nylon and nitric acid production, the use of fertilisers in agriculture, cars with catalytic converters and the burning of organic matter. Nitrous oxide is broken down in the atmosphere by chemical reactions that involve sunlight.

Deforestation
After carbon emissions caused by humans, deforestation is the second principle cause of atmospheric carbn dioxide. (NASA Web Site) Deforestation is responsible for 25% of all carbon emissions entering the atmosphere, by the burning and cutting of about 34 million acres of trees each year. We are losing millions of acres of rainforests each year, the equivalent in area to the size of Italy. [22]  The destroying of tropical forests alone is throwing hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. We are also losing temperate forests. The temperate forests of the world account for an absorption rate of 2 billion tons of carbon annually. [3] In the temperate forests of Siberia alone, the earth is losing 10 million acres per year.

City Gridlock
Cities are tolerating gridlock. In 1996 according to an annual study by traffic engineers [as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle December 10, 1996] from Texas A and M University, it was found that drivers in Los Angeles and New York City alone wasted 600 million gallons of gas annually while just sitting in traffic. The 600 million gallons of gas translates to about 7.5 million tons of carbon dioxide in just those two cities.

Carbon in Atmosphere and Ocean
The atmosphere contains about 750 billion tons of carbon, while 800 billion tons are dissolved in the surface layers of
the world's oceans. World Resources Institute

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Quote Shucander Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2007 at 10:58am

Consequence: melting glaciers, early ice thaw
Rising global temperatures will speed the melting of glaciers and ice caps, and cause early ice thaw on rivers and lakes.

    Warning signs today

  • At the current rate of retreat, all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2070.

  • After existing for many millennia, the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica -- a section larger than the state of Rhode Island -- collapsed between January and March 2002, disintegrating at a rate that astonished scientists. Since 1995 the ice shelf's area has shrunk by 40 percent.

  • According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of nine percent per decade. Arctic ice thickness has decreased 40 percent since the 1960s.

  • In 82 years of record-keeping, four of the five earliest thaws on Alaska's Tanana River were in the 1990s.

Collapse%20of%20Larsen%20B%20ice%20shelf
The satellite photo at far left shows the Larson B ice shelf on Jan. 31, 2002. Ice appears as solid white. Moving to the right, in photos taken Feb. 17 and Feb. 23, the ice begins to disintegrate. In the photos at far right, taken Mar. 5 and Mar 7, note water (blue) where solid ice had been, and that a portion of the shelf is drifting away. Photos: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Posted: 05 Aug 2007 at 1:09am

The climatic change threatens the coniferous forest of Siberia

2 of August of 2007

An international team of scientists thinks that the global heating is favoring the gravity and frequency of fires in taiga Siberian; what, as well, it favors the dioxide emissions of carbon to the atmosphere, one of gases of “effect conservatory”. Its work has been used for the writing as an article in `Journal of Climate'.

Professor Heiko Balzter, of the department of Geography of the University of Leicester and director of the investigation, calls the attention on the recent changes in Siberia: “In the last century a typical Siberian forest underwent a great fire every 100 years, so that it recovered before the following fire came. Now the great fires happen to more frequency, every 65 years”.

Read the complete article”

Published in Biodiversity and polar ecosystems, Zones and glaciers, Asia
It thinks on this article”

 

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