The Burden of Climate Responsibility…

Posted on July 14th, 2008

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When you take the time to consider all the variables, you might consider the fact we even exist is a miracle.

Think about it. Consider how we stack up as a species in the billions of years of material existence. The advent of man among all other life forms is but a moment.

I look at it, as a human existence is a mere spark in time.

For us living as that spark can seem a long time. We perpetuate a lot of change in the course of a single lifetime.

We have advanced from hunters and gatherers to an agrarian, then industrial, and now information age. We now possess intelligence so potent that we could destroy ourselves as a whole if we loose sight of the dignity of human life.

But isn’t that what many of our kind do everyday in the quest for happiness.

We have created sciences that we have dedicated to our search for the ultimate sense gratification without understanding their long-term effects on our universal partner, the earth.

Everyday we encroach on the laws of nature for our own ends. Currently we release a wide range of gases called greenhouse gases that get trapped in our atmosphere and cause the planet to warm. Most of the population is aware of carbon dioxide CO2. It is the end result of our using fossil fuels. What many people don’t know is thatCO2is only one of the potentially dangerous gases.

Since about the year 1750 according to analysis of ice core samples we have been tipping a balance that stood for 10,000 years, or since the last ice age. Without any CO2in our atmosphere the planet would freeze. The concentration that has allowed life as we’ve known it to flourish is between 260 and 280 parts per million. We are now taking that number higher.

In an attempt at more accurate dating, its worth noting that William Murdoch, an employee of Boulton and Watt is thought to have invented; and the irony is not lost on the name; the sun and planet gear also called the planet and sun gear patented by James Watt in October 1781. It played an important part in the development of devices for rotative motion in the Industrial Revolution. With the introduction of the sun and planet, planetary gearing became possible and devices like the locomotive, steam engine and steamship became possible, precipitating the rapid advancement of the industrial revolution.

The major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and three groups of fluorinated gases, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs, and PFCs . Today these gases are the subjects of the Kyoto Protocol to the International Framework Convention on Climate Change. The protocol was established with the objective of reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change. The scope of the protocol and the fact we continue to create more destructive sources without disposal solutions is a paramount concern.

A BBC World Service report recently brought to light that there is now evidence that the booming demand for flat-screen televisions could have a greater impact on global warming than the world’s largest coal-fired power stations. The gas used is greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride, a gas 17000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. At this time there is no protocol that encompasses this gas, or its disposal.

As far as the Kyoto protocol is concerned it was adopted on December 11th 1997 by the 3rd Conference of the Parties, meeting in Kyoto, it entered into force on February 16th 2005. As of May 2008, 182 parties have ratified the protocol. Of these, 36 developed cg countries (plus the EU as a party in its own right) are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels specified for each of them in the treaty (representing over 61.6% of emissions from Annex I countries), with three more countries intending to participate. One hundred thirty-seven (137) developing countries have ratified the protocol, including China, India, and Brazil, who among the others have no obligation beyond monitoring and reporting emissions. The United States one of the largest and most serious contributors to carbon dioxide CO2 fossil fuel pollution that causesglobal warming, has not ratified the treaty or shown any sincerity in doing so.

Note, China’s unparalleled recent growth, set to eclipse all developing nations, has only monitoring and reporting obligations.Among various experts, scientists, and critics, the protocol is questionable. There is an ongoing debate about it’s usefulness.

Clearly consensus about the urgency for action, seriousness of the situation, and need for unified concerted effort on the part of all developing nations is lacking.

Based on the tangible and scientific evidence and the need for affirmative action, is it not time to stop asking for co-operation, rather mandating a course of action that applies to all. A Universal Declaration of Nature’s Rights defendable by law, overseen by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and The International Court of Justice. Including the founding of an oversight committee to monitor world developments. Ensuring all the math and contingencies are considered before development or change takes place.

Thus insuring for future generations a healthy wholesome environment.

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