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Environmental concerns

Environmental news: 2007

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Media reports on the environment:

bullet 2007-JAN-01: ON: Catholic priest reported as minimizing global warning concerns: Father Jim McLenaghen at St. Marys Parish in Collingwood, ON delivered a homily on 2006-DEC-31 for the Catholic Feast of the Holy Family. He said, in part:

"In the media there has been much doom and gloom about the state of the planet in recent years. There are those who say we are causing global warming and that we are polluting ourselves to death. I think we need to maintain a healthy skepticism towards the view that the sky is falling. The fact is scientists are disagreed among themselves as to the causes of global warming. I just read an article about two climate physicists from the Hudson Institute who have published a book with the thesis that global warming occurs naturally every 1,500 years.

They point out that the Romans grew grapes in Britain in the first century, and that it was warm enough in the C11th as well for grapes. Greenland was much warmer when the Vikings named it centuries ago. After all, they named it Greenland because crops grew so readily on it. Today it is much colder there than it was when it was named. The point is climate change is a natural phenomenon.

So dont believe everything you read especially when its all doom and gloom. 1

Webmaster's note: It is true that there are cycles in the Earth's temperature that occur naturally. However, the rate of change of temperature in recent years is unparalleled. It has essentially all environmental scientists extremely concerned. On another note, Erik the Red selected the name "Greenland" as a marketing ploy in order to encourage exploration and settlement. It was definitely not an accurate name. 2

bullet 2007-FEB-02: World: UN panel releases report on climate change: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) released the first of four reports it has scheduled for 2007. The panel was created by the United Nations in 1988. It is a conservative report: it is based only on peer-reviewed published material and was edited by the consensus of representatives from 113 governments. commented: " Key world polluters including the United States, China and India steered clear, while Europeans embraced it."

The report concluded that at present rates of change, global temperatures could increase by as much as 11 Fahrenheit (6 C) by the year 2100. However, if greenhouse gas emissions are brought under control, this can be reduced to about 3 F (1.7 C). The world's sea levels are expected to rise by 7 to 23 inches (18 to 58 cm) by the year 2100. Eventually, if emissions are not controlled, the world's ice sheets will melt and the se level will rise 20 feet. Fewer cold days, hotter nights, heat waves, floods, heavy rains, droughts and strong storms are predicted.

Jacques Chirac, president of France, has proposed a new environmental body that could identify and perhaps police polluting nations. He said "It is our responsibility. The future of humanity demands it." 3
bullet 2007-APR-07: World: UN panel releases second report: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) released the second of four reports that indicates the danger posed by global warming is greater than was earlier believed. The authors believe that the effects of global warming are already visible. RTE Entertainment reports:

"Many of the warnings about effects of climate change are familiar, but now the IPCC says it is no longer based on models but on what has actually been seen to happen. The report states that the poor will be hardest hit. Drinking water will become more scarce, some areas will be flooded by rising sea levels, and death rates from malnutrition, malaria and other conditions will rise. Ocean and coastal ecosystems are said to be most under threat, including fragile coral reefs. The European Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas said the report underlined the need for fast action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions." 4

 However, the number of extinct species and the number of humans who will starve or face water shortages or floods will increase. Scientists said that with a 90% level of confidence: "... over the last three decades has had a discernible influence on many physical and biological systems." Predictions include:

bullet Year 2020: Temperature increases by 1C (1.8F) relative to 1990 values: 400 million to 1.7 additional people will not be able to obtain sufficient water; some infections diseases rise; allergenic pollens rise; some amphibians will go extinct.
bullet Year 2050: Temperature increases by an additional 1C (1.8F): Up to 2 billion people without water; 20 to 30% of the world's species are extinct; malnutrition, disease, heat waves, floods and droughts increase death rates.
bullet Unspecified date: 7 to 9C (12.6F to 16.2F)temperature increase: Up to 20% of the world's population faced by increased floods; 1.1 to 3.2 billion with inadequate water; major extinctions of species worldwide.

Harvard University oceanographer James McCarthy said: "The worst stuff is not going to happen because we cant be that stupid." Let's hope he is right.

bullet 2007-JUN-20: China: China becomes highest CO2 emitter in the world: The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency report states that, because of its economic boom, China has become the top emitter of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. The report said that: "China's 2006 carbon dioxide emissions surpassed those of the United States by 8 percent." In 2005, China's emissions were two percent below that of the U.S. 6
bullet 2007-JUN-21: World: Plan to promote blooms of plankton: Planktos, Inc. plans to seed 10,000 square kilometers (3860 square miles) of the Pacific Ocean near the Galapagos Islands with 45 tonnes (44 tons) of iron-rich dust. Their intent is to promote blooms of plankton. The very small plants consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. It plans to sell the carbon-eating capacity as CO2 credits. Unfortunately, the increased plankton will increase the acidity of the ocean, potentially harming coral reefs, and depleting fish stocks. Planktos claims that it will only try to restore the plankton levels to their original volume. Plankton levels have dropped about 25% over the past 25 years in the Pacific Ocean. 7
bullet 2007-JUN-29: World: Professor challenges Al Gore on global warming: Marketing professor Scott Armstrong has challenged Al Gore to a wager. He proposes that both of them place $10,000 in a charitable trust at the end of 2007, and select a climate change model. Armstrong predicts zero temperature change over the next decade; Al Gore would probably select a mathematical model that calls for a rise in temperature. After ten years, a winner would be selected and the winner would choose to which charity the proceeds would go. 8
bullet 2007-JUN-29: World: High altitude clouds studied: NASA launched the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite on APR-25 to study noctilucent (night-shining) clouds. These are clouds of tiny ice crystals floating some 80 lm (50 miles) above the earth. Shortly after sunset and before sunrise, sunlight makes them glow even as the ground is in darkness.

These clouds were first observed in the 1900s. They have become more numerous in recent years. Some researchers believe that the clouds are linked to global warming. As carbon dioxide collects in the upper atmosphere, it absorbs energy from the sun as well as heat radiation from the earth. It then re-radiates this energy, producing a net cooling in the upper atmosphere and heating at the surface of earth. Methane can react with oxygen to create water molecules which would then freeze into noctilucent clouds. 9
bullet 2007-JUL-21: USA: Eight states and NYC suing five power companies: Eight states -- California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- have jointed New York City in a joint lawsuit against five large power companies. The plaintiffs charge that carbon dioxide from electric generating plants is contributing to global warming. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said: "Global warming is an important issue for our country, for our state and for our world. It can have enormous consequences.'' Miller claims that power plants owned by the defendants -- American Power Company, The Southern Company, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Xcel Energy, and Cinergy Corporation -- generate over 650 million tons of CO2 yearly. This is about 25% of the total released by America's power plants. He said that power plants account for 40 percent of the country's total carbon dioxide emissions. The plaintiffs are asking for a federal court order that would require the companies to reduce emissions by 1 to 3% each year. 10
bullet 2007-SEP-15: Ancient weather records proving useful: According to Christian Pfister, a climate historian at the University of Bern in Switzerland, there is an increased interest among scientists concerning the study of ancient records of weather. He notes that in the 2006/2007 winter was the warmest in 500 years of record keeping. Spring blossoms sprang up in the Austrian Alps, an official chestnut tree in Geneva sprouted leaves and flowers, and mushrooms were being harvested well into December. It was preceded by the hottest autumn in 1,000 years. He said: "In the last year there was a series of extremely exceptional weather. The probability of this [having happened by chance] is very low." His team has pieced together information from ancient weather reports as far back as the 10th century.

According to Associated Press:

"Pfister has found that from 1900 to 1990, there was an average of five months of extreme warmth per decade. In the 1990s, that number jumped to an unprecedented 22 months. The same decade also had no months of extreme cold, in contrast to the half-millennium before."

"Even in the last major global warming period from 900 to 1300, severe winters were only 'somewhat less frequent and less extreme,' Pfister says. Over the past century, temperatures have gone up an average of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is often attributed to the accumulation of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere." 11

bullet 2007-SEP-17: CA: Federal judge dismisses lawsuit: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of California. It claimed that the car emissions were responsible for a significant part of global warming. This is causing increased flooding and other disasters. This forces the state to spend  millions of dollars on repairs. California sued Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and the U.S. subsidiaries of Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

The judge ruled that it is impossible for the court to determine to what extent carmakers were responsible for global warming and the damages that it causes. Other industries, animals and other natural sources are responsible for part of the problem. 12
bullet 2007-DEC-03: Indonesia: U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali: In 2002, the Kyoto Protocol came into force. 175 countries carefully weighed the short-term cost of implementing the protocol with the long-term devastation that would result if it was not followed. 174 nations accepted Kyoto; only the United States chose the future devastation option.

Since the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, a conference was held in Bali, Indonesia to develop a path forward beyond that date. Delegates from over 180 nations joined observers from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in Bali, Indonesia. Their goal was to negotiate a new treaty to replace the Kyoto protocol which expires in 2012. According to the Guardia, a UK newspaper:

"The UN says that this year's scientific report from the its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has 'made clear beyond doubt that climate change is a reality', which poses a serious threat to the future development of the world's economies, societies and ecosystems."

"According to the IPCC, if no action is taken on greenhouse gases, the earth's temperature could rise by 4.5C or more."

"The effects of climate change are being felt already, the panel says. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average and adverse effects on human activities are documented. Impacts of warming have also been observed in other regions and sectors, in particular on ecosystems."

"As glaciers retreat, water supplies are being put at risk. And for populations living in dry lands, especially those in Africa, changing weather patterns threaten to exacerbate desertification, drought and food insecurity. Other regions are expected to suffer from floods, sea level rise and extreme weather events."

" 'We cannot go on this way for long,' the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has said. 'We cannot continue with business as usual. The time has come for decisive action on a global scale'." 13

bullet 2007-DEC-15: Indonesia: U.S. reverses position; conference achieves partial success: A near consensus was reached on a compromise resolution that would start intense negotiations over the next two years to reduce CO2 emissions worldwide. Initially, the U.S. rejected the consensus. On Saturday, DEC-15, a delegate from Papua New Guinea suggested that the U.S. "either lead, follow or get out of the way." The head of the U.S. delegation, Paul Dobriansky then announced support for the resolution after specific guidelines were removed. 14

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Priest Says Beware of Science Experts Quoting Statistics and Saying Sky is Falling. Says real concern should be about declining state of family,", 2007-JAN-03, at:
  2. "Vinland," Wikipedia, at:
  3. "Report spurs backing for global body on warming," Associated Press, 2007-FEB-03, at:
  4. "Poor will be hardest hit by climate change," RTE News, 2007-APR-06, at:
  5. "Climate report charts 'highway to extinction'," World Science, 2007-APR-10, at:
  6. "China Top CO2 emitter, passing U.S., report says," The Toronto Star, 2007-JUN-21, Page AA3.
  7. Catherine Brahic, "Company plans 'eco' iron dump off Galapagos," New Scientist, 2007-JUN-22; updated JUN-25, at:
  8. Jim Brown, "Al Gore challenged to 'climate change' wager," One News Now, 2007-JUN-29, at:
  9. David Shiga, "Satellite snaps first images of mysterious glowing clouds," New Scientist, 2007-JUN-29, at:
  10. Todd Dorman, "Iowa joins lawsuit battling global warming," Quad-City Times, 2007-JUL-21, at:
  11. "Ancient records help test climate change," Boston Herald, 2007-SEP-15, at:
  12. Paul Elias, "Judge tosses Calif global warming suit," Quad-City Times, 2007-SEP-18, at:
  13. "Q&A: Bali climate change conference," The Guardian, 2007-DEC-03, at:
  14. "In U-turn, U.S. agrees to global warming deal," CNN, 2007-DEC-15, at:

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Copyright 2007 and 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2007-JAN-01
Latest update: 2008-JAN-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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