Global Warming


Forest fires being put out in Europe.

Scientists have found a way that might soon show the real possibility of extreme weather like the floods and heat waves being due to global warming. Huge heat waves have spread across Europe. Greece has hit 113 degrees fahrenheit, following closely behind a record-setting heat-wave in June of almost 114.8. The heat has killed 500 in Hungary, left 350,000 in Britain without running water. I think it is astounding that simply the heat is killing people. It has been frustrating for me to see people squandering around wondering “Is it Global Warming?” But hopefully these scientists, particularly Myles Allen, who hails from Oxford, (one of the most highly respected universities in the world), with all of these computer simulations, will be able to finally end the questions for skeptics around the globe.

The heatwave in Europe terrorizes.

Of course there will always be the howling from “scientists” placed in high places by oil companies, but hopefully the truth will ring out from these complex experiments. Allen claims that is simply a matter of calculating the probability. He, in particular, is running a team conducting thousands of simulations on one particular British flood. Each individual computer runs one climate simulation. Allen says that the results will be published later this year. Hundreds of scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted more and more drastic changes in the weather like floods and heat waves. The heat wave overtaking Europe that I mentioned earlier is a huge example of what the IPCC predicted. With this new technology of pointing the finger at a particular variable in one situation… I think we will be able to revolutionize the way people look at global warming research. I think that soon we will have the most concrete evidence ever presented to the public.

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On July 7th, 2007 people all over the globe celebrated at Live Earth ‘Parties for the Planet’, a reaching-out to all kinds of people around the world to raise awareness and actually do something to stop global warming. People everywhere were encouraged to throw parties of their own, not just to watch the ones on TV, because you don’t need a concert hall to tell people how to save the earth. We, Team Gaia, an Atlantic Beach based teen environmental organization, decided to do just that. We decided to throw a big Live Earth party in our very own studio office in Mayport. We posted our party on MoveOn.org, an environmental and political website that acted as a HQ for people who wanted to go to a Live Earth party. People all over typed in their zip code, and if they were near us, our party showed up on their screens. We also got together and invited a bunch of our friends to join in! We got around 70 people, and their ages were very diverse. We had about 50 adults, some of them seniors, some middle age, and some of them even in their twenties. But at the same time we had about 20 teenagers from different schools in the area. Aside from the mere diversity, a lot of the people who came were very progressive. Members of local organizations like the Sierra Club and JaxTaxpayers.com came, along with lots of other concerned members of the community like UNF professors and school board members. All of us at Team Gaia were really excited to meet all these amazing people!

At the party we had a huge potluck where everyone brought in vegetarian and organic dishes, and we even organized getting some biodegradable silverware. The food that was there was absolutely delicious! People ate, mingled, and we showed the concerts from all over the globe on a projection screen in our studio. We kicked things off with an introductory piece from the Live Earth campaign by Al Gore, and then showed a 30-minute town meeting with different people running for government talking about the environment. We (Team Gaia) also showed our own pieces we ourselves produced about Global Warming. At Team Gaia we produce all kinds of videos spanning from global warming, to getting teens to vote, to organic food and healthy eating. We got some awesome feedback from all kinds of people, and it was really rewarding. The whole experience was simply exhilarating, and it was great to say that we took action, that we will continue to take action, and that we’ve encouraged others to take action.

Most importantly, you can take action against the climate crisis even as a simple reader of this blog! You don’t need to be a member of Team Gaia or Sierra Club or anything like that to make a change. You can change the light bulbs in your home to compound florescent, you can turn the AC up a couple degrees when it’s hot and down a couple when it’s cold, you can do what you can to use less hot water like take shorter showers, and on top of all that, you can drive less! Together, all of us can do our best to prevent global warming– that’s what ‘Party for the Planet’ and Live Earth was all about!

A hydroponic garden.

An environmental group called New York Sun Works thinks the rooftops of New York could be used as gardens to provide food for the whole city. To prove their point, they created a garden on a barge on the Hudson River. The barge is a greenhouse that uses solely rain, solar panels, wind turbines and biofuel to subsist. New York Sun Works says that if these ‘hydroponic systems’ with no water or soil were installed on the rooftops of New York, the provided food could feed 20 million people.

Cities like New York growing their own produce would encourage becoming organically inclined and aid the fight against global warming! Having the gardens on the tops of schools could feed the school, and teach lessons in science and horticulture. It would solve the terrible nutrition problems that American cafeterias face! And because space on land is often sought after in cities, what better place to choose for these gardens than the often unused rooftops?

I think this is an extremely exciting and inspiring idea! Think of the changes that this could create in American society– it would be like a tidal wave of health, beauty and tasty organic food! The greenhouses apparently produce seven times more food and they use four times less water than the traditional farm. So many benefits would be in store for New York if they chose to enforce this plan. This is truly one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard– there has to be a city who will do this. Please, someone listen to these wonderful people!

S O U R C E S:
Reuter`s Article

Beijing at night. (Do you see any energy police?)

A small update on my last little bit on China’s battle against global warming. Chinese government’s latest weapon against the cruel climate change? A sort of “Energy Saving Police” out to make sure all buildings in Beijing are obeying energy saving rules, like making sure their air conditioning is set to no cooler than 79 degrees. The Chinese government also has a phone line set up just so people can call in and report people disobeying these Energy Laws.

The effort to save energy has even become somewhat of a political campaign, considering the 2008 Beijing olympics are approaching and they truly want to get rid of all the pollution by then. The People Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece in China, says: “All regions and sectors must thoroughly grasp the importance and urgency of saving energy and reducing emissions,” showing the government’s desperation to urge things forward. According to the China Youth Daily, 84.6 percent of almost 5,000 Chinese citizens found global warming and energy conservation to be considered an urgent issue. It seems to me that China is certainly keeping its’ promise so far!

S O U R C E S:
Article about China’s efforts.
Article mainly about the energy police.

Following in suit of Europe, China has recently launched its’ very first “climate change” plan. However, Chinese officials are very upset towards the responses the country is receiving from others regarding the matter. Ma Kai, head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, says, “Overlooking historical facts and obligations, ignoring different development levels of different countries… it’s not fair or reasonable to use climate change as an excuse to limit the progress of developing nations and hinder their efforts towards modernization.”, “China will not commit to any quantified emissions reduction targets, but that does not mean we will not assume responsibilities in responding to climate change,”.

Ma Kai looks like an angry kitty. He`s like, `China can take care of global warming, unlike you guys, meoww~`

China’s new plan makes bold plans to fight global warming through ways that won’t exactly mess with their economy. Supporting recycling in industry, cleaner transport, alternative fuels, saving energy & forest planting is their ideal. However, while these things all sound nice, the Chinese government stresses very greatly that they will not give up any part of their growing economy to meet other international demands.

While it is indeed wonderful that China has decided to employ a plan, rather than just talking about employing one, it seems like the plan is more of a shield against any criticism coming at them in the upcoming G8 summit. China wants to make sure they are not the ones with fingers pointed at them when it comes to global warming, so they employ a “climate change” plan just before the summit where they will have to face the other nations.

China`s growing pollution problem is stifling.

At the same time, though, just think about how many things you look at and see the “made in china” label on. We cannot blame China for not being able to keep up with a global warming plan they manufacture so many other, more well-developed countries’ goods. Ma Kai also made sure to talk about this. He said that rich countries could not blame poor countries for pollution when the poor countries are being outsourced by the rich countries, saying that the rich nations did this while “dragging their feet with promises to share clean technology” (an obvious reference to the US).

In summation, I think that China’s plan is a good step forward that has been needed for a long time. While it is somewhat of a shield against criticism at G8, it is more than the US has done. The United States shouldn’t use China for manufacturing and blame them for pollution, but China has turned the other cheek, and made a new plan to help the environment.

(This piece was written June 6th, 2007)

EDIT- today.

As G-8 has most definitely drawn to a close, President Bush has agreed to keep his climate plans within UN lines. However, coming up with anything beyond Kyoto is pretty much out of the question because he’ll be out of office by then. Bush has also made it completely certain that US cooperation with the climate change ideas provided by the UN will rely entirely on China and India’s cooperation as well.

My question is– why does he need China and India to be there? He is acting like a little kid who needs his siblings to be punished as well. Why can’t Bush and his administration clean up their own act before pointing fingers at others? China actually has a plan.

S O U R C E S:
Video of Ma Kai speaking about the plan.
Article about China’s plan having to incorporate growth.
List of G8`s conclusions.

Bush happily ignores global warming.

“By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases.” President Bush states his proposal in front of a large crowd today. Bush says that to make this goal happen, there will be a series of meetings with the top 15 carbon emitting countries, including ones like China and India. After the goal would be chosen, the nations could go about cutting down emissions any way they wanted to.

Next week there will be a summit in Germany of most of the industrialized nations where Bush will definitely be in the hot seat. As you already know, he refused to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that would make the US reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. China and India were both exempt from Kyoto, and in 2001 when he was making more statements about why he rejected Kyoto, he definitely made sure to bring that up a couple times. Bush also made sure that he would reject Germany’s newest idea for what would happen after 2012.

Another thing Bush made sure to point out in his speech was that in 2006, the US’ carbon emissions decreased by 1.3 percent while the economy grew 3.3 percent. He says, “this experience shows that a strong and growing economy can deliver both a better life for its people and a cleaner environment at the same time.” 1.3 percent? Man, that really makes a difference. It’s good we didn’t output more emissions than the year before, but compared to what we could be doing if we had ratified the Kyoto treaty, that is nothing. And the President wants to prolong the wait for real climate change even more? 6 years ago, if you look at his speech on climate change, he was singing the same tune.

Bush explains to European official that the Kyoto treaty is “fundamentally flawed”.

He wants to put off the decision of the goal for the end of next year, 2008. If the number 2008 means anything to you, you’ll realize that Bush will be out of office after that. Way to put off the problem so you won’t really have to deal with it, Mr. President. While our environment chokes to death, how about we have some more nice talks about what we can do while we call any other plan from another country “fatally flawed” (what he said about Kyoto) and point fingers at China and India.

What he said in at the end of a speech on climate change on June 11, 2001:
“I look forward to continued discussions with our friends and allies on this important issue.”

That’s right, Mr. Bush. And discussions have certainly happened! Now is time to take action. Not make a “target goal” to be decided on by the end of next year.

This is what Philip Clapp at the National Environmental Trust (where George Cavros, Team Gaia’s friend who was interviewed in our 1st episode, is from) said:
“This is a transparent effort to divert attention from the president’s refusal to accept any emissions reductions proposals at next week’s G-8 summit”

I wholeheartedly agree.

S O U R C E S:
Article from CNN.com
The full documented speech he gave today.
The full speech on global warming he gave in 2001.

The Taxis

By the year 2012, all of New York City’s taxi cabs have been chosen to become gas-electric hybrids. New York’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, recently introduced a plan that would ensure this dream to come true. Evgeny Freidman , the manager of three major taxi companies, has been trying to do this for a long time. To the Commission’s protest, Friedman spent $222,743 on licenses for the first hybrid cars he would put into service in 2005. The Commission had tried to tell Friedman that hybrids “weren’t spacious enough” to be taxis. Friedman, of course, prevailed and employed 19 Ford Escape Hybrids on the streets. According to Friedman, the taxi drivers “save 20 dollars per shift (on gas).” The ride is also apparently very comfortable (to the Commission’s surprise). Nowadays, New York has around 375 hybrid taxis on the road, and the mayor’s new plan demands a thousand more by 2008, and 13,000 by 2012.

The very fact that the Commission tried to fight a change like this is just ludicrous and makes me deeply upset. It just goes to show how narrow minded some people can be, I guess… I’m sure many hybrids are too small for the job, but to just say that all hybrids are too small and not to give them a chance? That whole deal is just depressing. This is just another example of authority not being strong enough to step up to the environmental plate.

Despite that, I think this is an absolutely wonderful plan for New York! I was entirely glad to see a big city making such great steps towards environmental health. Especially after their recent banning of trans fats. They don’t just want to make their people healthier, but they want to keep their atmosphere healthier too. I think that considering all of the cars and people in New York, that making such a large change in their public transportation services was almost necessary. I would love to see other states do the same. In fact, I think a lot of other states would do well just to have better public transportation services in the first place, instead of requiring people to just drive wherever they go. It would be so much better for the environment if people could rely more on public transportation instead of the cities having half-baked bus systems that pollute like hogs. I think New York has truly made a step towards their people breathing easier with this new plan. People aren’t driving individual cars, the transportation doesn’t pollute nearly as much, and people are getting where they need to go. Awesome.

sources
•http://www.hybridcars.com/news2/ny-cabs-hybrid-2012-052307.html
•http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/05/22/transcript.wed/index.html#third (yellow cabs going green — at the bottom)

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