Evironmental crisis

This crisis is already happening in some regions of the world, the worst of it is some people are still asking if that is a real issue,and some trust the scentist will find some kind of solution which would put every thing back to “normal” with no adjustment to their way of life.

I have decide to make this into two articles. One with data from diferent sources about global environmental crisis and the othe with my personal opinions on this matter.

Climate change: How big is it?

Climate change is a global problem in which every country or region has developed its own rules and policies. Inspie the efforts made by the international comunity this problem is not only not going, but its effects are worsening with time as several recognized authors state as David Perlman 1) reports last May 24th2).

“With critical problems from climate change to overpopulation threatening the world's environment, scientists at UC Berkeley and Stanford led a call by more than 500 of their international colleagues Thursday for more urgent action to combat the global threats…………………….

……..“By the time today's children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth's life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent, and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future,” the scientists said……..

These recnowned scientists moved California's Governor to show interest on this matter, scientist showed interest in educate policymakers about this problem

……….“Brown (California's Governor) received the 20-page initiative Thursday during a Silicon Valley meeting at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View. It was signed by 520 researchers on environmental issues, led by UC Berkeley paleontologist Anthony Barnosky and Stanford biologist Elizabeth Hadly.”

“Brown was so struck by the tipping point evidence, Barnosky recalled, that he asked in phone conversations why if “global change was such a big deal,” that the scientists so often talked only to themselves about it, and only published their evidence in obscure scientific journals. His questions were well taken, Barnosky said.

“Now our statement is designed to educate policymakers and the public everywhere about the real urgency of the evidence,” Barnosky said.

News from the world

Every day, news about this matter show just how real it is, and, how little we are achieving with our pesent efforts. For instance lets see a news selection from the online environmental news source Mongabay 3)

  • Water crisis widening: 4.5 billion people live near 'impaired water sources'

(05/28/2013) The majority of the 9 billion people on Earth will live with severe pressure on fresh water within the space of two generations as climate change, pollution and over-use of resources take their toll, 500 scientists have warned.

  • Improving food and water efficiency a must for the next generation

(12/05/2012) This summer, while climate change silence reigned in the U.S. presidential race, the Stockholm International Water Institute's conference for World Water Week focused on the global initiatives required in order to live with its effects. The report, titled “Feeding a Thirsty World,” garnered the most publicity with the assertion that agricultural water scarcity and an increasing population would force the world to reduce average meat and dairy consumption down to just 5% of all calories by 2050. At present, 20% of the average human diet is made up from animal proteins.

  • A new world?: carbon dioxide concentrations in atmosphere hit 400 ppm

(05/11/2013) For the first time since homo sapiens evolved, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have struck 400 parts per million (ppm) due to burning fossil fuels. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that readings of carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii hit the symbolic number on Thursday and are expected to continue rising in coming years. The last time concentrations were this high for a sustained period was 4-5 million years ago when sea levels were 5-40 meters higher than today and the poles were 10 degrees Celsius hotter. During this epoch, forests grew along the shores of the Arctic Ocean and coral reefs were almost wholly absent.

  • Biosphere conservation: monumental action is critical to avert global environmental crisis
  • China to phase out super greenhouse gas
  • 'Carbon bubble' could cause next global financial crisis
  • Last 30 years were the warmest in the last 1,400 years
  • Global warming - 56 million years ago
  • Climate Summit in Doha characterized by lack of ambition
  • Animals dissolving due to carbon emissions
  • 'No-one is listening to the entire scientific community': global carbon emissions set to hit new high

And this is only a small sample of the word about how critical and wide spread this problem is, criticism is not uncommon on this documents4)5)6) but the origin of this arguments might be due to lack od knowledge and understanding from one side to the other and vice versa.

What is the U.S. Government stand

So what is the U.S. Policy on this matter, this is really slippery ground, since there is no official policy stated, yet the government recognizes there is a climate change and something needs to be done. government agencies involved, such as EPA7) and the DoE8) have their own statements and policies each.

The Environmental Protection Agency

“What is EPA Doing About Climate Change?

EPA is taking a number of common-sense steps to address the challenge of climate change. Read a summary of EPA's efforts to reduce carbon pollution in testimony by Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, to Congress on June 29, 2012.(16 pp)

  • Collecting Emissions Data

EPA collects various types of greenhouse gas emissions data. This data helps policy makers, businesses, and the Agency track greenhouse gas emissions trends and identify opportunities for reducing emissions and increasing efficiency.

**The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, provides the United States' official estimate of total national-level greenhouse gas emissions. This report tracks annual U.S. greenhouse gas emissions since 1990.

**The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program collects and publishes emissions data from individual facilities in the United States that emit greenhouse gases in large quantities.

  • Getting Reductions

EPA is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a clean energy economy through highly successful partnerships and common-sense regulatory initiatives.

**Developing Common-sense Regulatory Initiatives: EPA is developing common-sense regulatory initiatives, to reduce GHG emissions and increase efficiency. For example, EPA's vehicle greenhouse gas rules, will save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump by 2025, and eliminate six billion metric tons of GHG pollution.

**Partnering With the Private Sector: Through voluntary energy and climate programs, EPA's partners reduced over 345 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2010 alone - equivalent to the emissions from 81 million vehicles - and saving consumers and businesses of about $21 billion.

**Reducing EPA's Carbon Footprint: EPA is monitoring emissions from its own energy use and fuel consumption and working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. Learn more about federal greenhouse gas requirements and EPA's Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan(74 pp).”

And they do other things like:

  • Evaluating Policy Options, Costs and Benefits
  • Advancing the Science
  • Partnering Internationally
  • Partnering With States, Localities, and Tribes
  • Helping Communities Adapt”

The Department of Energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) has their saying, and their actions CLIMATE CHANGE

“The Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology (PI-50), located within the Office of Policy and International Affairs (PI), serves as the focal point within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development, coordination, and implementation of DOE-related aspects of climate change technical programs, policies, and initiatives. The mission of the Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology is to accelerate the development and deployment of advanced technologies and best practices to mitigate climate change……..”

The issue is treated seriously by the government, this is shown in the budget destined for research and development activities.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided just over $25 billion in additional funding for research and development across a broad portfolio of GHG mitigation options, including: high-performance buildings; efficient manufacturing; advanced vehicles; clean biofuels; wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear power; carbon capture and sequestration; advanced energy storage; a more intelligent electric grid; and techniques for reducing emissions and/or increasing uptake of carbon dioxide in agriculture and forestry. The ARRA also provided over $400 million for establishing the Advanced Research and Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) within DOE to overcome the long-term and high-risk technological barriers to the development of clean energy technologies.”

The Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology has it own site, and there they describe their role9) as:

About the Office of International Climate Change Policy and Technology

“The Office of International Climate Change Policy and Technology within the Office of Policy and International Affairs (PI) serves as the focal point for international climate change and clean energy activities within the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The Office coordinates DOE participation in international forums that focus on these topics, such as the Clean Energy Ministerial, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It also develops and implements international climate change and clean energy initiatives consistent with Administration policy objectives and coordinates the related efforts of other DOE program offices. In doing so, the Office works cooperatively with other agencies and with other offices within DOE.”

Independent organizations look at the role which the U.S. is playing in the global field, there is a very recent book based on government sources of data from the regions and countries of the world which contribute the most to the greenhouse gasses and global warming. The aim of the researching team who put together this work is to gather the success different plans and policies for emissions control and compare them against each other.

International stand

In their book the orginization Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) state, the regions they work with, why, and the kind of data they gathered

“Climate Policy Initiative10) (CPI) has offices and programs in six regions: Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, and the United States. This report covers all of these regions except Indonesia, and thus represents slightly more than half of the world’s population and close to two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. These countries vary widely in terms of economic development, natural resource endowment, political system, and climate policy, and can offer different lessons to policymakers” Book from the Climate Policy Initiative 11)

Tim McDonnell wrote about this book and their stand on the U.S. Climate policy at the Grist 12) “Yesterday the Climate Policy Initiative released a sweeping overview of climate change policies across the globe. It paints a picture of the U.S. that climate hawks might find distressingly, if familiarly, chaotic: A tangle of federal subsidies, differing state-level clean energy mandates, and a host of natural resources, from wind to coal to natural gas, scrambling for political favor. “What makes the U.S. unique is that we have no overall climate strategy where all these policies fit,” said David Nelson, a CPI researcher and lead author of the report, which describes the thicket of state and federal climate policies as “messy but useful,” in that it lacks clarity and direction but can, with luck, produce results.” “The surprising thing, Nelson said, is that while the U.S.’s approach to dealing with climate change lacks the focus of, say, the E.U.’s carbon trading market, it must be doing something right: Carbon dioxide emissions have fallen 13 percent in the last seven years, and yesterday the EPA announced that greenhouse gas emissions fell 1.6 percent from 2010 to 2011.”

“This story was produced as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.”

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