Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted December 1997 by over 160 nations to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by member nations, <>. The Protocol calls for each member nation to reduce its greenhouse gases by an average of 5%, calling the US to reduce its emissions by 7%. The three gases most detrimental to the environment, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, are specifically targeted under the Protocol, <>. Theoretically, this unified international action to reduce greenhouse emissions would be greatly beneficial to the suffering environment. However, for large industrial nations such as the US, the suggested percent reduction would take drastic measures to achieve. For example, according to the Energy Information Administration, energy consumers will need to receive between 2- 12% of their energy from natural gas.
However, natural gas is not everlasting, and if we continue to use it in such abundance, the earth's supply will quickly be depleted. Furthermore, tapping into our natural resources can threaten wildlife habitats and nature refuges. The scarcity of natural gas, in correlation with our high demand for it, leads to drastic and immoral action. Take, for example, the oil drilling that takes place in Alaska wildlife refuges. President Bush is in full support of the drilling, since it would benefit the American people, <>. Nevertheless, threatening our wildlife in order to preserve the lifespan of our atmosphere is rather hypocritical; therefore, America should cease its drilling in wildlife refuges and work to find other efficient sources of energy that are environment- friendly.


Kryssi said...

Hey, I have a question: recently I've been hearing a lot about how certain emmisions provide global cooling. I think it's Sulfur Dioxide, but I'm not too sure. Why does that argument exist, and do you think it has reasonable data to support it?

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hearth35 said...

you are correct, sulfur dioxide aerosols can potentially lower the tempereature of its surroundings However, the temperature change is so miniscule, and the supplementary side effects are so great, it overrides the potentially helpful "cooling" effects. Sulfur dioxide causes acid rain, air pollution, and health problems in humans. Since the "cons" outweigh the "pros" in this situation, unfortunately sulfur dioxide would not help the health of our atmosphere.

footescientist said...

I think an important point to make about this issue, one that confuses many people unfamilar with "global warming" is that there is a difference between "Climate Change" and Global warming. Global warming is an incidence of climate change where the average temperature of the earth increases because of gases(NOxs, SOxs, and VOxs) that absorb forms of long wavelength radiation(infared) and therefore trap heat from escaping into deep space. This process is called the greenhouse effect and is contributed as one of the major reasons behind the phenomenon known as global warming. Global Climate change is a much more accurate and definitive name for the main issue facing the environment, because in actuality global warming and other phenomena produce varying climates accross the world. In fact, climate change can produce colder and warmer climates accross the world, so the phrase "global warming" is somewhat decieving.