The essential goal of our times
|"During the past decades, the international community, usually under the auspices of the United Nations, has struggled to negotiate global standards that can help us achieve these essential goals. They include: the abolition of land mines and chemical weapons; an end to the testing, proliferation and further deployment of nuclear warheads; constraints on global warming; prohibition of the death penalty, at least for children; and an international criminal court to deter and to punish war crimes and genocide."||
President Jimmy Carter,
12-10-02,Oslo, Norway. *
Solar electric collector generates an electrical current from sunshine in a southern African home,
(2001) [ J. V. Siry]
What to do? | Evidence | Frequently Asked Questions | Sources | What can I do?
Practical "constraints on global warming" are:
The problem of constraining global warming and limiting climate change challenges virtually every facet of conservation and development because water and energy are necessary for life and our use of each pollutes the air we breathe.
To constrain global warming effective conservation is the bottom line.
But the problem is exacerbated by poor designs, waste, and thoughtless consumption.
Is climate change natural? No, as reported in Natural History Magazine, Dr. Broecker tested that assumption.
In the above graph of temperature increase over two centuries Broecker revealed that a natural cycle of cooling [blue line] should have begun around the time of World War Two. Instead when you factor in the rise of human consumption and use of fossil fuels since the war Broecker accounted for the increase in temperatures since the 1970s.
What can an individual do?
While no one person can save the earth, humanity or our life nourishing landscape people all over the world are doing something to moderate the impacts of climate change. Alone, in families, as municipalities and in institutions around the world climate friendly and efficient, energy wise people are aware that reducing our needless waste of resources can have results in taking tons of carbon dioxide out of, or reducing the carbon dioxide we export into the air.
For example every American household produces 22.5 tons of carbon dioxide annually as waste. Transportation and electricity use account for most of that waste.
Why Carbon Dioxide?
As a colorless, odorless and heat retaining gas, carbon dioxide is the major contributor to insulating the earth from freezing in the void of outer space. There must be a delicate balance in the air of carbon related gases and other vaporous compounds that hold on to heat (infrared radiation).
Too much carbon dioxide will lead to increased temperatures, too little can allow an ice age to occur.
Like Goldilock's --who selected one of the three bear's porridge that was "just right," being not too hot and not too cold-- we must choose a course of action to assure that the rate of carbon dioxide increase is offset by carbon dioxide uptake (by trees, ocean plankton, and other vegetation ), We should take the prudent and precautionary action so that the world's temperature remains "just right."
For further information see:
Scientific American on global warming
What is global warming and climate change?
Recent articles from 2000 back to 1995.
"Causes of Climate Change Over the Past 1000 Years," Thomas J. Crowley's article in Science
Global Warming as an International Problem
The Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, (New York : Simon & Schuster, 2002) p. 16.