Friday, September 26, 2008

New Data on Greenhouse Gases: time to act . . . now

Many of you who read this blog are already concerned and committed marine conservationists and so you are familiar with issues regarding greenhouse gas output and the effect it has on our climate. Here's some more disconcerting news . . .

Yesterday, international researchers from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released new numbers indicating that the level of carbon emissions/greenhouse gases is increasing ahead of projected levels. It was anticipated that levels might decrease due to the economic downturn's impact on energy use over the past few years. Unfortunately, data shows that carbon dioxide output rose 3% from 2006 to 2007.

"Things are happening very, very fast," Professor Corrine Le Quere, University of Anglia, told the Associated Press. "It's scary." "We should be worried - really worried," Richard Moss, World Wildlife Fund, told the Washington Post. "This is happening in the context of trying to reduce emissions."

The new data also shows that the forest and oceans, which absorb carbon dioxide, are having less impact. The rising level of emissions is exceeding the ability of these ecosystems to take in carbon dioxide - they are simply being overloaded. The trees and oceans can't do it all; they can't save us from ourselves.

China is currently the largest polluter, with the U.S. in second. Developing countries like India and Indonesia are rapidly increasing their emissions as these nations develop more energy-intensive industries. New data continues to come in and with it the situation continues to become more dire. We need to take more decisive action - all of us, consumers, industry, and governments.

Here's a start: the Ocean Conservancy has a form you can fill out online and send a message to your government officials. Just a first step but we all have to start somewhere.

No comments: