Friday, July 11, 2003

Global Warming and Uncertainty

Dear Readers,

Scientific uncertainty is the fact of life. There is not much argument about it. But the dogmatist attitudes in turning back from the present scientific data and warnings regarding the alarming global warming trend are not acceptable. Things can go exceedingly sour if ice in the poles melts.

J.W. Anderson in his Washington Post opinion editorial writes, “when the sea level rises in the Bay of Bengal it also rises in California and along the Delmarva Peninsula.” Millions of people will be affected if the coastal nations and towns and cities get inundated with the rising sea, the devastations from that unthinkable scenario are too grim to perceive for many. But the government leaders are elected and paid to take prudent necessary actions. They have scientific and financial resources available to them to implement plan in preventing that crouching meltdown of civilization.

Mr. Anderson provides three aspects of global climate change:

1. In the past century, our world has grown warmer.

2. Scientists find carbon dioxide as the main reason for this global warming. Carbon dioxide is “a gas that traps heat and is generated by burning fuels”. In the recent years, CO2 emission seeping into our atmosphere has increased considerably.

3. So far, no one is absolutely certain on what’s going to happen if CO2 level keep increasing in the atmosphere.


Mr. Anderson states that the geological record is full of warnings that when change comes, it can come exceedingly fast. “The evidence hints at hidden trigger mechanisms that, once sprung, can send whole continents into radically different climates. It could happen for purely natural reasons, having nothing to do with human activities. But the rapid buildup of carbon dioxide from power plants and cars and furnaces increases the risk. That much is not an uncertainty.”

Folks in the Bush Administration and many Republicans and corporations blame that putting too much emphasis on environmental issues will ruin the present economy. Mr. Anderson has a answer for them: “An effective plan to lower the risk of catastrophic climate change need not damage the economy, any more than buying insurance against fires and floods damages the economy. Scientific uncertainty is a fact of life. One purpose of public policy is to address uncertainty. It's not an excuse for inaction in confronting a rising risk.” He discusses on tax issues to pay for the environmental causes.

Please read his article from the following location: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40912-2003Jul10.html

Also you can check out the article “Climate Change: The Science isn’t settled” of James Schlesinger that Mr. Anderson point to in his reference: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19892-2003Jul7.html

Barnaby J. Feder has written an article that was published in The International Herald Tribune this week. He observed that there are alarming signs that the big companies are doing poor job “of preparing for the business impact of global warming, according to a report issued by a coalition of investor, environmental and public interest groups. Most of the 20 corporate giants discussed, including leaders in the oil, auto and utility industries, are also failing to disclose to investors enough about the financial risks they face from climate change, according to the report, which was prepared by the Investor Responsibility Research Center in Washington and released Wednesday.” This article can be read from the following location: http://www.iht.com/articles/102403.html

“Global warming is linked with extreme weather conditions, according to a study by the World Meteorological Organization.” This comment was published in a CBC’s article. Here are a few excerpts:

“It points to the number of extreme conditions this year. In the United States, there were 562 tornadoes during May, a record number in any month. In southwestern France, temperatures soared above 40 C, the highest temperatures recorded for the month of June. The extreme heat in India killed at least 1,400 people. Heavy rainfalls in Sri Lanka caused massive floods and landslides killing at least 300 people and damaging the land. "New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing," the organization said. "As the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase," it concluded. Read the full article from the following location: http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2003/07/03/extremeweather_030703

For a basic refresher in the Global Warming issue, read the following The Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theissues/article/0,6512,391051,00.html

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
July 11, 2003

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