Friday, August 19, 2005

More Global Warming

Officials from two dozen countries met yesterday in Greenland to discuss the problems presented by global warming. The meeting place was at the foot of a glacier that has receded seven miles since 1960. Though the officials agreed that something needed to be done, no specific measures were adopted; the meeting included representatives from both pro- and anti-Kyoto treaty nations. From the article:

The United States, which accounts for one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gases, has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, saying it would harm their economies by raising energy prices, and cost five million jobs in the U.S. alone.
I have doubts about the accuracy of that claim, as it seems highly unlikely to me that Bill Clinton and Al Gore would endorse a treaty with such dire effects. Sure, it would cost money in the short term, and maybe even cost jobs in some sectors, but surely conversion to new technologies would open new job opportunities as well. (I think energy companies just do not want to make the initial investment.) Meanwhile, John McCain and Hillary Clinton are crossing party lines to call for action on the global warming front while they toured parts of Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory. McCain is pushing bipartisan legislation to cap greenhouse emissions at 2000 levels (which is still pretty high).
"We are convinced that the overwhelming scientific evidence indicated that climate change is taking place and human activities play a very large role," McCain said....
"I don't think there is any doubt left for anyone who actually looks at the science," Clinton said. "There are still some holdouts, but they are fighting a losing battle. The science is overwhelming, but what is deeply concerning is that climate change is accelerating."
At the same time, doubters continue to bet against the idea of global warming.

Cleaner Air?

An EPA study indicates that new pollution controls may be doing some good in the northeast. The controls demand reductions of nitrogen oxide emissions during the summer months, to reduce smog and prevent unhealthy air days. Another new pollution control adopted this year will require permanent cuts in both nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide.