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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Global Warming

The mainstream scientific consensus on global warming is becoming clearer every day: changes in our climate are real and they are underway. In the last 150 years, we have been witnesses of unexpected heat waves around the globe that have taken the elderly, the poor, and the young as propitious victims. Moreover, many glaciers are now disappearing, and scientists predict that, a majority of them will be gone by the year 2100. As glaciers continue to shrink, summer water flows will drop sharply, disrupting an important source of water for irrigation and power in many areas that rely on mountain watersheds. To prevent all this, a total of 140 governments ratified the Kyoto pact last month in an effort to reduce the industrial gas emissions, which many scientists believe are behind the increase in global temperatures during the last century. What are the pros and cons of this initiative for governments and society? Are we too late to stop a climatic change that will erase all forms of life from the face of the earth? This paper will try to answer these questions.
Governments Pros
By agreeing to reduce industrial emissions by the year 2010, all governments, which ratified the Kyoto pact, show their willingness to improve both environmental quality and human health. Energy-related environmental pollution figures prominently as a contributor to a number of diseases, including acute respiratory infections, chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. The ratification of the Kyoto pact is a sign most governments on this planet have not forgotten their duty of protecting the land and the people from any kind of threat. These governments are setting an example for all of us to follow. After all, governments have a social responsibility with their citizens and are directly responsible for the wellbeing of those individuals living within their borders.
Society Pros
Global warming is killing about 150,000 people a year, mostly in deprived and tropical areas, and the toll could raise dramatically if efforts are not made to combat climate change. According to the United Nations Agency, “the health of millions of people is under threat as a consequence of rising temperatures and uncertain weather patterns, which many scientists claim are caused by greenhouse gas emissions.” A later report by the same agency blamed global warming for 2.4 percent of diarrhea cases and 2 percent of all cases of malaria worldwide. The United Nations Agency also estimated that, by 2030, climate change could cause 300,000 deaths annually and that a further 5.5 million years of healthy living had been lost worldwide due to debilitating diseases caused by rising temperatures. The last heat wave in Europe last summer alone killed 20,000 people. Hopefully, the Kyoto pact will slow down the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere eventually saving the lives of thousands human beings. The ratification of the Kyoto pact is good news to society.
Governments Cons
The reduction of industrial greenhouse gases may affect the economy of those nations adopting the Kyoto pact. According to the Bush Administration, “adopting the Kyoto pact would seriously affect American businesses, with the result that U.S. goods would cost more, and more jobs would move overseas.” The United States is the only industrialized nation not adopting the Kyoto pact due to economic reasons. Nevertheless, other countries, which did adopt the treaty, also worry about an increase in the level of unemployment caused by cuts in output. For example, while the rest of the member of the European Union are required to cut their emission level by 8 percent, Germany (due to the still existence of coal-fired power plants in the former East Germany) is required to make a reduction of 21 percent. Dr. Werner Müller, German economy minister, said regarding this issue, “although we believe adopting the Kyoto pact is necessary to slow down global warming, we are concerned our economy will be seriously affected if we fail to monitor the reduction of greenhouse gases closely.” Those governments adopting the Kyoto pact sure had a difficult decision to make; on the one hand their willingness to contribute to slow down global warming makes them socially responsible, on the other hand if factories start closing down due to the strict requirements of the Kyoto pact and people begin losing their jobs, their initiative could backfire on them.
Society Cons
The added costs for pollution-control equipment and moving to new energy sources may distress the economy of needed capital and cost thousands of jobs in industries such as taconite and steel production. According to a study conducted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, about 5 million workers may lose their jobs soon after the Kyoto pact is ratified. Plus another 10 million will lose their jobs successively. If these figures are true, society would be paying a high price to try to save the planet form the disastrous consequences of global warming.
Global warming can’t be stopped, we are too late for that, but it may be slowed down. 140 countries are willing to take the risk to see a recession in their economies to bring hope to future generations. Other countries, like the United States, which is actually the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, value their economic goals as being more important than the wellbeing of future generations. Unless we act now, our children will inherit a hotter world, dirtier air and water, more severe floods and droughts, and more wildfires. They will inherit a world where more frequent and more intensive heat waves could result in more heat-related deaths. In fact, they will inherit a more dangerous world than we know today. They will inherit a world threaten not by terrorists or nuclear weapons, but by the destructive power of nature.


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Shane, at 6:19 PM  

  • Global warming isn't even REAL!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:49 PM  

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