Greenhouse Gases Threaten Planet

Global Warming has reached a rate that may be irreversible and have catastrophic consequences!! 

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  "In part, we owe our existence to a process called the greenhouse effect. Inside an artificial greenhouse filled with plants, the surrounding glass traps the sun's energy, making it warm inside, even while outside the temperature may be much colder. This same effect happens every day on the Earth. Gases within the atmosphere act like glass, trapping the sun's heat. These gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)." 

"Without this greenhouse heating, the Earth's average temperature would be only about -73 C (-100 F); even the oceans would be frozen under such conditions.

Alternatively, a "runaway" greenhouse effect like that found on the planet Venus would result in surface temperatures as high as 500 C (932 F).

Owing to the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by modern industrial societies' widespread combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), the greenhouse effect on Earth may be intensified and long-term climatic changes may result.

An increase in atmospheric concentrations of other trace gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (Freons), nitrous oxide, and methane, due again largely to human activity, may also aggravate greenhouse conditions." 


 "A recently issued report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of an unexpectedly large increase in carbon dioxide levels from 2002 to 2003 has raised concerns that the earth may already be entering a time of rapid and abrupt climate change. The measurements taken at NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory showed CO2 levels had jumped 2.5 ppm from 2002 to 2003 to a level of 376 ppm. This increase went well past the annual increase that might have been anticipated from human energy emissions, land use change and deforestation. Normally CO2 levels increase about 1.5 ppm annually. Although the 2.5 ppm increase is not the largest ever in a single year, it has raised concern as it comes after a similar jump of about 2.5 ppm from 2001 to 2002. Conceivably there may be some benign explanation for this sharp jump in two consecutive years. Another more ominous possibility exists - that some of the increase could be due to a feedback effect that is amplifying the rise expected from human activity and that might kick our gradual warming trend into high gear. There are a number of possibilities, among the most troubling that the oceans may be absorbing a smaller fraction of the CO2 releases as concentrations rise, thus further speeding the rise in atmospheric concentrations." 

"Are We Facing a Point of No Return on Climate Change?" 

"Last month, [march, 2005] the overall CO2 level surpassed 380 ppm — by far the highest it has been in thousands of years. While it's increasing regularly, the rise isn't always steady, as indicated by the recent spike." 

"Countries around the globe are attempting to address this problem. In an agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol, most industrialized countries have agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the United States refuses to to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and is doing little to reduce the greenhouse gases for which it is responsible. "

"The U.S. alone produces 25% of the world's greenhouse gases."  

This has been just a brief outline of  the problem of dealing with greenhouse emissions. The planets climatology is a complex, hard to predict, system. Many government bureaucracies, and large industry use this fact as an excuse to continue  pumping millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  Despite the overwhelming evidence of melting glaciers and polar ice caps, rising global tempertures, and increased violent storms, all pridictions made in advance by the scientists most concerned with these issues, our big business backed government has chosen to downplay rather than address the issue.

What can the individual do in the face of such bureaucratic and industrial apathy? The short answer is,  a lot.  Everytime you spend a dime, or vote for a politician, be aware of the the environmental impact  that decision will have.

"Using less electricity and natural gas, composting and recycling, and reducing our overall consumption of goods are all common sense approaches to reducing greenhouse gases. Installing more efficient appliances and using solar energy for electricity and hot water can also result in significant reductions.

Driving less or using more fuel efficient modes of travel, purchasing your food and services from local or regional providers reduces transportation activity, and reducing the meat in your diet will also help to keep you healthy while making a significant reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide and methane that are produced in raising live stock.

To make a difference, to make real progress, each one of us will have to make changes in how we live our lives. We can't afford to wait for someone else to do it for us.

If you can work to get your hometown to endorse the Kyoto Protocol and urge it to take this issue seriously enough to make changes in the way it administers its activities, you and your community will have made a magnificent contribution to improving the health of the planet.

And imagine how much greater your success will be when you, your family, your school, or religious institution also begins to consider how it too can reduce its production of global warming gases and then acts on it?

Now is the time to make a personal pledge to act. Make a commitment to change, to reduce, and to urge your community to get involved." 

Global temperatures will rise further in the future than previous studies have indicated, according to new research from two scientific teams.