Tuesday, November 28, 2006

more of the same

The rate at which humans are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has more than doubled since the 1990s, according to Australian research, the latest report warning about the high rate of emissions accumulating in the atmosphere.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I heard a speaker say that global warming wasn't an individual responsibility; it was the responsibility of car makers, utility companies, etc.

Certainly, business can and should do a lot to reduce pollution, including greenhouse gases. But our individual actions share the blame. Business isn't creating pollution just for fun. They create gasoline and electricity because we buy it. They don't force us to buy SUVs. They don't yank our fingers away from the light switch when we turn out the lights.

Some people think that biofuels will be a magic solution. But if we continue to waste so much energy, surely we will burn more fuel faster than nature can regrow it. Even if we attained a break even situation, we will still be creating pollutants in addition to greenhouse gases.

In a study called “Going to the Extremes,” coming out in the December issue of the journal Climatic Change, researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Texas Tech University found strong evidence that by the end of this century, there will be significant increases in what the authors call “extreme weather events”—deadly heat waves, heavy rainfall and prolonged droughts.


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