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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Fr Shay Cullen writes: we must all do our share to combat global warming
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 Raging forest and bush fires in Australia, killer droughts in Africa, massive floods swamp Indonesia, more typhoons than ever rip through the Philippines, the most destructive tornado in decades cut a swath of death and destruction across Florida, heat waves kill thousands and it's getting worse. One thing is clear, potentially catastrophic climate change is upon us. The scientists have proven it and the climatologists have confirmed it, the industrialists and politicians have denied it. But they no longer can, the UN scientific meeting of hundreds of planetary experts in Paris last week the cause is not at nature but the human species. That's us, the creatures with intelligence and the brains. We are changing our planet for the worst and soon if this goes on it will be irreversible. The ice caps are melting at a prodigious rate, the sea levels are rising, the polar caps are melting and the sun's rays are not being reflected back into space but are absorbed by the oceans. Fish, birds, polar bears, thousands of species are threatened by the warming of the earth. That heat cannot escape into space because of ever thickening layers of gasses, mostly carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These form an impenetrable seal and are trapped and so are we. The vast forests could have absorbed much of the carbon dioxide but most have been cut down. In 1900 the Philippines had 90% forest cover, today it has only 19%. Every minute a chunk of the Amazon rain forest, the size of a football field, is cut down. The rich industrial nations that refuse to cut gas emissions are responsible for most of the global warming. Africa, a vast continent, produces only 2.5 percent of the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. But the westerns economies, and increasingly Asia are the villains. China and the Philippines pollute the atmosphere with non -stop coal burning power stations. Most of them are violating environmental laws by operating without pollution filters and scrubbers. They simply bribe the inspectors to look the other way. All their promises to produce clean energy have never been fulfilled. In the Masinloc, Zambales coal plant, the fly ash is left to be blown by the wind for kilometres into communities and mango orchards killing the harvests and causing childhood asthma and respiratory disease. The earth's surface temperature is increasing and climate change will soon be irreversible and the crises will become worse. Greater storms and rising sea levels will wipe out coastal communities first, as happened to New Orleans, only worse. Low lying coastal properties are dropping in value already. The UN Paris report warns of a doomsday scenario if the industrialised world does not change its polluting and destructive ways immediately. That point of no return is coming closer and when it does the deserts will quickly expand and water sources will dry up. There will be food shortages, starvation and new diseases. The warmer climate will allow killer insects to invade areas previously closed to them and tropical parasites will thrive. There is no way known to science to dissipate the greenhouse gasses that fill the upper atmosphere. There is no way to cool the planet once it heats up, as it doing year by year. Only strong outspoken public opinion and environmental protection campaigns are needed to persuade governments in the developed nations, China and India to legislate strict industrial emission controls. They must change from fossil fuel driven economies to clean energy such as solar, wind and wave power generation and cut vehicle pollution. They need to encourage the use of heat pumps which use natural earth heat to warm or cool homes and buildings. They have to stop the cutting of forests and plant billions of trees before the watersheds and rivers dry up. Industry needs legislation and incentives to reuse heat from one activity to fuel another. Japanese industry has cut energy use by 70% by recycling heat. We all must do our share. We can plant more trees, conserve water, insulate our homes and spend on the heat pump system. We must demand more fuel efficient vehicles, completely turn off electrical appliances when not in use, and recycle all waste. And me? I am off to help plant more than a 1000 trees a year. For more information see: http://www.preda.org
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