Saturday, 31 July 2010

A-Z of Global Warming

For a comprehensive guide on all the latest news and facts on global warming and climate change, read the A-Z of Global Warming, out now. From the Amazon Rain-forest, Bio-fuels, Carbon Dioxide to Population growth, The Sun and Temperature, the book provides everything you need to know about the subject.

1 comment:

David M said...

My main concern is with nuclear power, which seems to have a very biased account in the book "The A-Z of Global Warming". Unlike the rest of the book, nuclear power does not seem to be well researched. Very few figures are given to support the statements made.

I have just a few points on other issues. On p250 Richard Branson's support for a technology prize is mentioned. This is the same person who promotes increased air travel, and even extremely wasteful space tourist flights (should they ever materialise). This hypocrisy is not mentioned. We can't rely on capitalism to solve the problems as it is a system which inherently promotes wastage, it encourages consumption, and the economic theories it is based on ignore the facts that the Earth's resources are finite, that things without price still have value, and that humans are motivated not only by personal greed. Buying less - of almost anything - will reduce your carbon footprint, since anything manufactured takes energy. This also makes it difficult to determine the value of gadgets such as the 'standy-buster' [p220] and 'energy tracker' [p221]. Do they help us save more energy than they consume in manufacture, and are they just more profit-making products sold with a green image?

At first sight, carbon trading seems a good idea: the worst polluters help finance those making improvements. But we have to think more thoroughly. Does this simply allow some to continue their dirty business, at a penalty they can afford - and perhaps pass on to customers? Wouldn't it be better to properly enforce emissions limits and prosecute or shut down those which don't comply? On p 228 we read "Carbon credits purchased that could otherwise be used by polluters within the Kyoto emissions trading schemes are cancelled from the register or retired, which then limits the amount of greenhouse gases polluting companies are allowed to release into the atmosphere." So if it's a good idea for us to buy up these credits, what does this say about the trading scheme, and relying on market forces to solve the problems?

Finally, hope is mentioned several times in the last chapter. We cannot rely on technology coming up with solutions. We must not simply hope and do nothing. The penultimate chapter explains several things we can do to reduce our own personal carbon footprint, which is good, but not enough. We must press governments, which act in our name, to do more; and we must pressure companies to take more care of the environment. Giving money to carbon offsetting may ease our conscience, but how about us also putting in some time and effort? Those who are not infirm can protest on the streets, and almost everyone can write to companies, or their MP, local councillor or local paper.