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Sunday, November 18, 2007:
Doesn't it scare you?
I just read a report in the news this weekend about how quickly global warming is escalating - at a much faster pace that originally thought. According to the study, reported by a Nobel-winning U.N. scientific panel who were "warning of inevitable human suffering and the threat of extinction for some species."
The report also states that "as early as 2020, 75 million to 250 million people in Africa will suffer water shortages, residents of Asia's megacities will be at great risk of river and coastal flooding, Europeans can expect extensive species loss, and North Americans will experience longer and hotter heat waves and greater competition for water, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says."
For those of you who may not know what global warming is, it's the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes, "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations" via the greenhouse effect. Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.[2][3] These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries; however, individual scientists disagree with some of the main conclusions of the IPCC.
Though it is difficult to connect specific weather events to global warming, an increase in global temperatures may in turn cause other changes, including glacial retreat and worldwide sea level rise. Changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation may result in flooding and drought. There may also be changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Other effects may include changes in agricultural yields, reduced summer streamflows, species extinctions and increases in the range of disease vectors.

Some effects on both the natural environment and human life are, at least in part, already being attributed to global warming. A 2001 report by the IPCC suggests that glacier retreat, ice shelf disruption such as the Larsen Ice Shelf, sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, are being attributed in part to global warming. While changes are expected for overall patterns, intensity, and frequencies, it is difficult to attribute specific events to global warming. Other expected effects include water scarcity in some regions and increased precipitation in others, changes in mountain snowpack, and adverse health effects from warmer temperatures.

Increasing deaths, displacements, and economic losses projected due to extreme weather attributed to global warming may be exacerbated by growing population densities in affected areas, although temperate regions are projected to experience some minor benefits, such as fewer deaths due to cold exposure. A summary of probable effects and recent understanding can be found in the report made for the IPCC Third Assessment Report by Working Group II. The newer IPCC Fourth Assessment Report summary reports that there is observational evidence for an increase in intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic Ocean since about 1970, in correlation with the increase in sea surface temperature, but that the detection of long-term trends is complicated by the quality of records prior to routine satellite observations. The summary also states that there is no clear trend in the annual worldwide number of tropical cyclones.

Doesn't this scare the bejesus out of you? It does me, because 2020 is not that far away - 13 years away in fact - and I'll still be around (hopefully). It really makes me stop and think about the ways in which I contribute to global warming, as insignificant as it may seem for one person's actions, take that times several million, or billion, and we've got a problem.

Of course there are things we can do to help stop global warming, and if we each do our part, it can make a difference. There's a list of 50 things to stop global warming, including:

  • Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner. Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Cover your pots while cooking. Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!
  • Use less hot water. It takes a lot of energy to heat water. You can use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year) instead of hot.
  • Buy fresh foods instead of frozen. Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.

These are just a few of the things we can do to help cut back on global warming. There's lots of information out there, valuable tips and ways we can do something. And it's our responsibility to do something; anyone living on this planet owes it to themselves, to their families, to each other to make a difference before we don't have a choice. Let's start now.

Go here for the complete report.
Click here for more information on global warming.

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  1. It really scares me Stacy. I wish I had a magic wand. Every body can do something and people with a little spare cash in their pockets can do a damn sight more than a bit.

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