mercoledì, luglio 14, 2004

Is it raining?

Today in Europe

Reading an article in today's Guardian about the consequences to London of the melting of the ice cap, I was reminded of a discussion I had had recently about the whole issue of Global Warming and it's subsequent effect on the planet.

Of course, the comments and analysis are not new or unheard of, are they. We have all heard of the effects of Global Warming before. What drew my attention to the article was, however, more to do with the parochial view presented in it.

Something that is often overlooked in all of the discussions about the effects of global warming and the continuing rise in world sea levels is the global nature of the ensuing problem. Much of the inhabited world is at or very near present sea levels. By this I am including the coastal areas of India and China, which between them, account for some 30 million people that would be displaced should sea levels increas by just 40cm. With the rise currently in the order of 2.5mm a year, with a projected increase to 5mm within the next 10 years or so, it will only take some 90 years to rise to the level where there will be 30 million homeless people in those countries alone - as well, of course, as the food producing areas for far larger areas being rendered useless by the ingress of salt water.

It makes the potential flooding of parts of London look wholly insignificant, don't you think?

So, why do we continue to ignore the reality of global warming? We all know it is happening as we are all experiencing some change in our established weather patterns. Still we act as though nothing is happening and it "isn't our fault" at all. Well, it actually IS our fault. Sorry and all that, but the longer we stick our heads in the sand and pretend that nothing is amiss, the more difficult it will be to deal with the consequences of our tardiness. The Kyoto Protocol has hit the rocks because there are a great many people that make an awful lot of money out of processes that produce copious quantities of carbon dioxide - as well as other more obvious toxic gasses. The worst offender is, of course, the USA - followed closely by Russia, who is also refusing to join the Kyoto protocol. Self interest always wins out, doesn't it.