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Our Dying Planet
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New Findings: Greenhouse Gas Levels At Dangerous Levels!

By James Donahue

A new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to reveal startling new data showing that greenhouse gas emissions have now accelerated to critical levels.

Tim Flannery, an Australian climate change expert, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. the new data reveals that "the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that can potentially cause dangerous climate change. We are already at great risk. That's what these figures say. It's not next year or next decade, it's now."

Flannery, author of the best-selling book The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth, said studies show that carbon dioxide and other emissions reached about 455 parts per million by mid-2005, which was well ahead of previous calculations.

"We thought we'd be at that threshold within about a decade, that we had that much time," Flannery said. "I mean, that's beyond the limits of projection, beyond the worst-case scenario, as we thought of it in 2001" when the last IPCC report was issued.

Flannery blamed the new economic and industrial expansion occurring in various parts of the world, especially in China, India and South America, for the unexpected rise in emission levels.

The new data is expected to add an urgency to talks when the IPCC meets on the Island of Bali in December to discuss a replacement for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

But many world leaders, especially in Europe, are urging a more aggressive fight to stop the looming threat of climate change which some believe may even put large parts of the Northern Hemisphere in the deep freeze.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel called this week for an international system of global emissions trading. She said she believed establishing limits on carbon dioxide output per individual around the world would be an effective way to stop climate change.

Merkel wasn't speaking lightly when she made this proposal. Her suggested limit was about two tons per person per year. That may seem like a lot of carbon for each of us, but when we start calculating the emissions from our cars, our home heating systems, the power to run our electric appliances, and the power industry utilizes to make the products we consume, folks in the US are currently averaging about 20 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person. Germans average about 11 tons.

Thus what Merkel and the other concerned leaders are saying is that the only way to curb this runaway global warming crisis is to enforce a world-wide change in our way of life. It means we stop buying and driving cars, we stop flying aircraft on junket trips all over the world, we stop running to the mall to buy things we do not need, and we develop new technologies for heating our homes.

At this late stage, even all of that may not be enough.