Global Warming: What Can We Do About the Greenhouse Effect and Harmful Emissions?

The United States has an opportunity, the very last one, in 2008 to return our planet to its natural state. Americans will vote for a new President. The current administration under the leadership of Harlan Watson, State Department Bureau, says the US is taking a three-prong approach to addressing climate change. Of those three prongs: reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for future action, and cooperate with international efforts, only the first states that the US must act in any substantial manner. Our future hangs in the balance.

Thanks to the Clinton administration and the state of California, emission standards were extended to include some larger vehicles. This has reduced pollution due to automotive exhaust. However, it allowed the current administration to ignore the issue because minimum levels of compliance with established policy for reducing greenhouse emissions were already being met.

Preparing for the future sounds nice, but it doesn’t mean anything measurable has to actually happen.

As for cooperating with international efforts, the current U.S. policy is viewed by the rest of the world as blind and ignorant at worst, naive at best. The G8 summit consensus was to plea for the largest countries in the world to lead efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. President Bush responded that he would not sign the agreement citing the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 as his reason. International agreements are extremely difficult to arrange. Any mutual effort, even if it may not be sufficient to remedy a situation completely, is worth contributing to, if only to show our concern for humanity and willingness to work together. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes we must act now or the process of global warming will be irreversible.

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research the world is getting warmer. Even a change in temperature of less than a degree dramatically alters the foundation upon which our entire ecological system stands. Weather changes and disasters increase. Have you noticed the increase in hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunami, and earthquakes recently? The ozone layer of our atmosphere, which protects the planet from ultraviolet light (UV rays from the sun), is developing holes. This radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer as well as genetic damage to all living things. At present, holes in the ozone layer cause the “greenhouse effect”, heating the earth. This leads to increased smog alerts, and even human death (usually of the aged who do not have air conditioning). The polar ice caps are measurably melting, dooming animal habitats to extinction and leaking our greatest source of fresh water into the salty seas.

World efforts are strong through international conferences concerned with global warming, its causes and its solutions. The administration knows about these efforts; this information was obtained from a U.S. government website. Opportunity exists for America to actually be the leader it proclaims to be. In order to do so, citizens must elect officials that support scientists, by granting them the financial and political wherewithal to make a difference.

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