The Mind of James Donahue

Somebody Do Something

Aaron's Magick
Political Art
Genesis Revised
About Aaron
About James Donahue
Many Things
Sealing Wax
Sea Is Boiling
Pigs With Wings
Goetia Spirits
Book Of The Law
Radio Aaron
Hot Links
Page 2
Main Page
VOL 2005
VOL 2006
News Hour Archives

CO2 Levels Still Rising; Planet Heating


By James Donahue


Carbon dioxide, the gas blamed for global warming, is measured now at record-high levels in the atmosphere and nobody is saying that is a good thing.


But government leaders in three of the worst industrial pollution nations, the United States, China and India, seem unwilling to do anything about it. Our factories, especially the coal-fired electric generating plants, are spewing more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere with each passing day.


U.S. President George W. Bush took office at a critical moment when industrial nations of the world were in the process of adopting an international Kyoto clean air agreement that would have forced industry to limit carbon dioxide emissions to certain levels. While many said the agreement was not perfect, they said it was a move in the “right direction” to put the brakes on runaway global warming.


But Bush ignored the Kyoto agreement. He said it was unfair to American industry that had to compete in a world market. He also said he did not believe in global warming.


The actions by the Bush Administration opened the door for both China and India to also ignore the standards set at Kyoto, Japan. Consequently, air pollution from all three countries is intensifying, lung problems are on the increase, and the world is getting hotter.


People in the northern regions of the United States may find it hard to believe the planet is heating because they have been enduring an unusually cold summer. But scientists say that is caused by melting ice that is filling the North Atlantic with fresh water. This, in turn, is slowing the Gulf Current which has a major effect on the weather in both the Northern American and Northern European continents.


Also storms are occurring with extreme intensity. Does anybody remember a storm front producing as many as 800 tornadoes sweeping across the Midwest on a single weekend? It happened not once, but twice in 2004.


How often have we had two major storms sweep Florida at the same time? It is happening as I write these words.


Carbon dioxide, a by-product from the burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that would normally radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit during the 20th Century, and an international panel concludes that most of the warming was caused by greenhouse gasses.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that if unchecked, the planet’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could jump to as high as 970 parts per million, causing global temperatures to rise from 2.7 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2,100.


That may not sound like much but consider the dramatic weather changes already occurring around the world after only a single degree of an increase. Times that by up to 10 and imagine what the world will be like.


Noted physicist Stephen Hawking, in a 1999 interview on Larry King Live, warned of a runaway world heating if we don’t get the greenhouse gas problem under control.


“The temperature of the earth has gone up and down in history, so one might argue that a recent warming was just a natural fluctuation,” Hawking said. “But there is no question that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now far higher than it has ever been in the past.


“Carbon dioxide is produced when we burn coal, oil or gas. It is what is called a greenhouse gas. That is, it let’s in heat from the sun, but makes it difficult for the heat to escape again. So the large amount of carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere will inevitably cause global warming,” he said.


“How much warming it will be, we don’t know. If it were only a few degrees, that would be serious, but we could adapt to it. But the danger is the warming process might be unstable and run away. We could end up like Venus, covered in clouds and with the surface temperature of 400 degrees.”


Hawking warned that “it could be too late if we wait until the bad effects of warming become obvious. We need action now to reduce emission of carbon dioxide. And that action must include the U.S., since you have by far, the highest emission per head.”


Hawking said that in 1999. That was five years ago. The problem has only gotten worse since that date. His warning still hangs there, like a hanged man, slowly twisting in the wind. It cannot be ignored.