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Climate Change
Source: Sustainable Society USA  Author: Steven Chen  Date: 2007-06-04  
Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have introduced all kinds of pollutants to the environment.   Some pollutants had an immediate and lethal impact on our society, such as poisonous waste water and gas. Usually, those pollutants can be identified and put under control in a relatively short period of time.  On the other hand, the impact of other pollutants such as Ozone degrading gas and acid rain gas take a very long time to be felt.  With those pollutants, people usually refuse to address them until a huge amount of damage has already been done.    Currently, scientific communities have predicted that the gases that contribute to global warming such as CO2 and Methane could have a devastating impact to this planet unless we act now and with full force.

CO2  is a natural occurring gas.   Plants depend on it to create their own food.  We can say that without CO2, the world we see today won't exist.  Recently, scientists have discovered that CO2 has done another wonderful thing for this Earth.   It acts as a blanket to keep most parts of the earth from freezing during the evenings and winter season.  However, this "wonderful" capability of CO2 also had scientists worried.  For more than two hundred years, we have been increasingly dumping more and more CO2 into the air by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. Now, the question is: if the level of CO2 in the air two hundred years ago kept the earth in the "right" temperature, what would happen if we double the CO2 level in the air?   After numerous studies, the majority of scientists have concluded that the temperature of the earth could rise high enough to upset the entire ecological system humanity depends on.  

If we look at a short period of time, the earth seems to be an unpredictable thing. We see the dramatic changes of temperature day by day or year by year.   We also could get too much or too little water for the year or for few years.  However, if you look at big picture and a longer time period, the earth is quite stable.  The temperature changes that caused the ice ages in the past usually took thousands of years or even longer. That allowed the ecological system to adapt to the changing conditions. The ecological system is "designed" in a way that it is able to tolerate short term fluctuation or slow long term changes.   However, the sudden change of the environment conditions in the past has been proven very fatal to the ecological system.  The distinction of dinosaurs might be one of the examples.
 
The temperature of the earth determines the climate we have. Even a small change of the earth's overall temperature could cause dramatic climate changes.  A dramatic climate change could, in turn, set off a chain of consequences affecting a variety of things.   One of which is the distribution of the water.  Water is the element that all living things need to survive.  If the nature's water distribution system is greatly altered because of climate changes, the entire ecological system would suffer.
 
Currently, the majority of man made CO2 is coming from the burning of fossil fuels. We burn fossil fuels to obtain the energy we need. The best way to cut down on CO2 emissions is to find and use other CO2 free energy sources, such as solar and wind energy.  Reducing the energy requirement for our economy is also a good way to cut down the CO2 emissions.   Besides CO2, human activities also produce vast amount of other global warming gases.  Methane from landfills or livestock farms is a good example of that.  We should address those gases also.
 
With current technology and know how, we are capable of greatly reducing the emission of global warming gases.   What we are really lacking is the will and determination.  This section of the web site is to bring people's attention to the issue and to show that there is way to address the issue of climate change.

 
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