"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Into that heaven of freedom it should be our intent. ( my adaption from Rabindranath Tagores famous lines)

Friday, January 01, 2010

COPENHAGEN - Climate Change Discord

Climate Change and Global Warning: Copenhagen Accord or discord
Without doubt, the conference on Climate change and Global warming was a fiasco, failure and a retrograde step. It even went back on the Kyoto Protocol, held in 1997 in Japan where 37 industrialized countries committed themselves to a reduction of 6 greenhouse gases to as much as 5% of the 1990 level.

The reasons:
1. It was a wrong place and a wrong time for the meet. Copenhagen, a chilly city made even more icy in December. The delegates shivered and probably wished the temperature to be a few degrees warmer and some sunlight! How could these delegates (90 % of who did not know enough of the subject believe that the Earth getting warmer by a few degrees can destroy itself?)
2. The conference had too many countries in participation. It was a merry mix-up with hundreds of politicians and delegates confusing the issue. This is one of the reasons that United Nations General Assembly cannot take any meaningful decisions. Most of them are skeptics, and do not accept anything based on scientific predictions and demand physical evidence.
3. Every politician had been warned to put the country before the Earth. Patriotism towards the country was more important than saving the Earth.
However he was told that he must show concern for the Earth.
4. Every politician was told NOT to commit to a figure or, if he is pushed to commit to some small figure he should ensure it could not be verified. If he is accused of not showing concern he should indulge in a blame game. Without these “protections” he could not face the Parliament (or a Senate) on his return.
5. Most of the Politicians and delegates not having a technical background should have undergone a small scientific instruction course before attending the conference lest they talk without the desired seriousness.
6. Lastly, all the countries recognized in advance that nothing substantial will be achieved and waited for a political agreement to mess around in platitudes and show a consensus. The Heads of the big countries could spare just a day or two to get a final agreement – shows their seriousness and commitment.

The setting of goals for achieving stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and carbon emissions at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system and temperatures not to go higher than 3
degrees WILL NOT be achievable for the next 20 years unless the above state of affairs stop and someone who knows takes charge

Why is our Earth warming up?
The concentration of carbon in living matter is almost 100 times greater than its concentration in the earth. So living things extract carbon from their nonliving environment. For life to continue, this carbon must be recycled.
The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is gradually and steadily increasing. The, CO2 in the atmosphere retards the radiation of heat from the earth back into space which and is referred to as the “greenhouse effect”. With this effect the Earth gets warmer; in other words these gases regulate our climate by trapping heat and holding it in a kind of warm-air blanket that surrounds the earth and warm the earth. If we don’t have any such blanket the Earth will on the other side become far too cold for our existence. We must have this balance
But we have gone the other side and this increase is surely caused by human activities:
Examples of malpractices and disregard
1. Burning natural gas, coal and oil - including gasoline for automobile engine
2. Deforestation
3. Some farming practices and land-use changes
These are caused by Greenhouse Gases than Carbon Dioxide like methane ( caused by burning forests, flatulence of cattle produces methane that is expelled, etc).Growing rice has an adverse environmental impact because of the large quantities of methane and this can be reduced by better agricultural practices like draining paddy fields.
4. Luxury of man: Chlorofluorocarbons, a totally human luxury (used in refrigerators and aerosol cans,)
5. Rise in Human and Cattle population.
6. Increase in Environmental pollution

What are the effects of global warming and the greenhouse effect?
1. Weather changes. Even a small increase in the global temperature would lead to significant climate and weather changes, affecting cloud cover, precipitation, wind patterns, the frequency and severity of storms, and the duration of seasons.
2. Temperature. Rising temperatures would raise sea levels as well, reducing supplies of fresh water as flooding occurs along coastlines worldwide
3. Sea levels rising: and global warming is at least part of the cause.
If the sea level were to rise in excess of 4 meters almost every coastal city in the world would be severely affected, Long-term changes are mainly caused by temperature (because the volume of water depends on temperature). The rise is also due to melting glaciers (irreversible phenomena) caused by global warming.
4. Land. Millions of people also would be affected, especially poor people who live in precarious locations or depend on the land for a subsistence living.

1. Saving energy and Life style changes and "throw away" practices. Be frugal. Use Carpools.
2. Using Government and Media to highlight the problems and offer solutions. Pour more money into research activities for clean energy.
3. Plant trees and support Organic farming (In simplest terms, organic farming is a form of agriculture that avoids any use of synthetic chemicals or Genetically Modified Organisms.)
4. Use Alternative energy rather than coal and petroleum
a. Using Solar power: solar cells capture the heat from the sun and store it.
b. Using wind power: Wind turbines capture the energy of moving air and convert to electric y
c. Biofuels: Converting organic matter into fuel (ethanol, marine algae
d. Nuclear energy: It is a source of clean energy but is only a temporary solution. It has the drawbacks of disastrous consequences of accident and getting rid of nuclear waste.
e. Use of CFL (compact fluorescent light bulbs) for lighting. If a building's indoor incandescent lamps are replaced by CFLs, the heat produced due to lighting will be reduced. Its environmental advantages are big because of its lower energy requirement. For a given light output, CFLs use 20 to 33 percent of the power of equivalent incandescent lamps. If a building's indoor incandescent lamps are replaced by CFLs, the heat produced due to lighting will also be reduced.

f. Use of hydrogen
A hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle that uses hydrogen as its onboard fuel for motive power. The power plants of such vehicles convert the chemical energy of hydrogen to mechanical energy (torque). With further research and development, this fuel could also serve as an alternative source of energy for heating and lighting homes, generating electricity, and fueling motor vehicles.