Monday, June 04, 2007

Estimated Rate of Global Warming is Tripled in Recent Study

On June 3, The Independent revealed the results of a study published on May 22 in the National Academy of Sciences that has reassessed the rate of CO2 emissions and global warming. It shows that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is three times higher than the numbers used to generate the frightening forecasts by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the 1990's. The growth of CO2 emissions has risen from 1.1% per year for 1990-1999 to >3% per year for 2000-2004. 73% of these global emissions is now from developing countries such as China and India, even though they only account for 23% of cumulative global emissions since the mid 18th century. The full PDF file can be read here.
This study is a cooperation of many respected institutions including Stanford's Department of Global Ecology, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany, The British Antarctic Survey, The University of East Anglia in the U.K., The Laboratorie des Sciences du Climate et del'Environnement in France, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Australia's Global Carbon Project out of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and was edited by a Harvard Researcher! The authors have declared no conflict of interest, meaning that the information presented is as objective as possible and they have no connections with special interest groups either for or against the climate change argument.

The implications of this are horrifying. If we have tripled our CO2 emissions in the past 10 years, despite the majority of civilized nations (with the exception of Australia and the U.S.) participating in the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gases, we are heading for disaster much faster than previously anticipated. There are more and more reports of findings indicating accelerating global warming and loss of polar ice, and this report supports those observations from a greenhouse gas perspective. Are China and India to blame? Partially. But so are we. Can you really blame the Chinese people for each wanting to have their own refrigerator and a car? They are simply trying to improve their lives and follow the Western cultures great example of excess and waste.
Our consumption here in the U.S. of cheap, mass produced goods made overseas has directly lead to jumpstarting the Chinese economy. That places the blame partially on us. Combined with the fact that we have some of the most advanced science, the best technology and the most money to begin an aggressive fight against climate change yet we have remained inert and impotent, allowing special interest groups and oil companies to dictate our energy policies and only continuing to contribute to the problem. Europe is trying to answer the call to combat climate change. We, the most powerful, richest, and supposedly most advanced society the world has ever seen, are doing next to nothing. We are part of the problem, we have catalyzed and are supporting changes in other countries that are the future of the problem, and we have the power to slow and maybe even stop the problem. That is, if we choose to stand up, grow up, and face our global climate crisis.

via Treehugger and The Independent


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