Preface: I studied global warming at a top university in the early 1980's. I was taught - as Al Gore was taught in college - that temperatures are directly correlated with CO2 levels.
This essay will not address the question of whether global temperatures are rising, and if so, how much. Others have written extensively on that issue. This essay also will not look at questions of the percentage of climate change attributable to natural factors, such as variations in solar output, volcanic activity or El NiÃ±o (also called the "southern oscillation"). These are important issues, but this essay will not address them.
or not you believe the planet is warming or that it is warming because
of CO2 is irrelevant for the purpose of this essay. Either way, you
will benefit from reading this.
I am against big oil and big coal. As I have repeatedly argued, power
should be taken away from the oil giants and decentralized. I have
repeatedly argued for microgeneration and for alternative energy. These
things are beneficial for a number of reasons - including better
health, less corruption of our political systems through
decentralization of power, and a boost to our economy - in addition to
whatever climate benefits they may have.
Do you remember the stories a couple of years ago about all of the dust coming from China?
There were headlines such as:
As the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2007:
"There are times when it covers the entire Pacific Ocean basin like a ribbon bent back and forth," said atmospheric physicist V. Ramanathan at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.
On some days, almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia. With it comes up to three-quarters of the black carbon particulate pollution that reaches the West Coast, Dr. Ramanathan and his colleagues recently reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research."
And the New York Times wrote in 2007:
Soot and Climate Change
One of China's lesser-known exports is a dangerous brew of soot, toxic chemicals and climate-changing gases from the smokestacks of coal-burning power plants.
In early April, a dense cloud of pollutants over Northern China sailed to nearby Seoul, sweeping along dust and desert sand before wafting across the Pacific. An American satellite spotted the cloud as it crossed the West Coast.
Researchers in California, Oregon and Washington noticed specks of sulfur compounds, carbon and other byproducts of coal combustion coating the silvery surfaces of their mountaintop detectors. These microscopic particles can work their way deep into the lungs, contributing to respiratory damage, heart disease and cancer.
Filters near Lake Tahoe in the mountains of eastern California "are the darkest that we've seen" outside smoggy urban areas, said Steven S. Cliff, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis.
Time Magazine wrote last month: