Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Global Warming Threat

Despite the best attempts by 'Big Energy' interests, there is no longer a reasonable ideological debate on the subject of global warming. In fact, there isn't even a valid scientific debate anymore.

Those who argue otherwise are just plain wrong.

The jury is in on this matter. I'm not a scientist, but I'm inclined to defer to them. To ignore the evidence is pure ignorance.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations -- have weighed in: humans are the primary reason for global warming and the subsequent climate change.

Natural disasters have always occurred, as they always will. But the pace and the magnitude of storms, and the melting of the polar ice caps, are occurring at an alarming rate.

According to US scientists, there has been an "overall increase in Atlantic basin major hurricane activity of the past ten years (1995-2004)." We can ignore it at out own peril, or we can ban together and seek solutions for the sake of humanity.

The Kyoto Protocol is a bad agreement because it doesn't hold China and India to the same standards at the U.S. I understand Bush's reasons for not signing. But that doesn't mean that more can't be done, or that the problem can be ignored. In 2002, the Bush administration's own EPA reported on the human contributions to global warming.

I'm not a tree hugger, and I don't belong to any environmental group. But there is reason for concern.

Four U.S. Senators (Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Susan Collins and Lindsay Graham -- the last three all Republicans) recently returned from a trip to Alaska and all of them said they were shocked by the devastation to the region.

Polar ice is retreating and glaciers are receding. Entire forests are being eroded by bugs that weren't present in the past due to the previously uninhabitable environment. The sea is encroaching upon, and inundating, villages that have existed for hundreds of years. The permafrost is melting -- so much so that whereas the dead could formerly be buried only two months out of the year, they can now be buried year round.

McCain called what he saw "a little scary," Clinton said, "We saw devastation as far as the eye can see," and Collins warned that the Arctic "is crying out to us to pay attention to the impact."

They saw the evidence with their own eyes and, just as with the scientists, I'm inclined to believe them.

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