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Global Climate Change and Climate Protection: Current Summary

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Introduction

Global Climate Change and Climate Protection: Current Summary From September 6 to 10, 1997, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) held a Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign - U.S. workshop in Atlanta, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The City of Atlanta, The Climate Institute, and The Turner Foundation. ICLEI is the international environmental agency for local governments. It believes from concrete experience that local actions can have a global impact. ICLEI was established in 1990 through a partnership of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), and the Center for Innovative Diplomacy. ICLEI's World Secretariat is in Toronto. ICLEI also has offices in Freiburg, Tokyo, Harare, Santiago, and Berkeley. ICLEI's purpose and mission are to: 1) serve as an international clearinghouse on sustainable development and environmental protection policies, programs, and techniques being implemented at the local level by local institutions; 2) initiate joint projects or campaigns among groups of local governments to research and develop new approaches to address pressing environmental and development problems; 3) organize training programs and publish reports and technical manuals on state of the art environmental management practices; and 4) serve as an advocate for local government before national and international governments, agencies, and organizations to increase their understanding and support of local environmental protection and sustainable development activities. ...read more.

Middle

Carbon dioxide. CO2 emissions are by far the largest percentage of greenhouse gas. Caused primarily by the combustion of fossil fuels to provide energy from energy plants and internal combustion engines, anthropogenic CO2 emissions are also produced by forest, agricultural, and other fires. At 1,496 metric tons of carbon or carbon equivalent, about 85.3 percent of the currently estimated 1996 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are as CO2, based on GWP, or an increase of 8.8 percent over 1990 (EIA 1997). Methane. CH4 emissions are dwarfed by CO2 emissions (a ratio of 1 ton of CH4 for every 175 tons of CO2). Because the heat-trapping capacity of CH4 is about 21 times that of CO2, the overall effect of CH4 on global climate is significant. There is, however, substantial uncertainty in estimates of emissions from most U.S. CH4 sources, ranging from 25 percent to as high as several hundred percent. CH4 emission trends from each source tend to be more reliable than their overall estimated magnitude. At 177 metric tons of carbon or carbon equivalent, about 10.0 percent of the currently estimated 1996 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are as CH4, based on GWP, or a decrease of 2.2 percent over 1990. ...read more.

Conclusion

� Control industrial plant greenhouse gas emissions. � Prevent and control forest and agricultural fires that generate CO2. � Replace internal combustion vehicle, tools, and power sources with electrical, compressed natural gas , and hydrogen sources. � Recover greenhouse gases, such as from landfills, for reuse and treatment prior to release to the atmosphere. � Improve the greenhouse gas sequestering mechanisms of the vegetative cover by restoring and enhancing landscape trees, forests, wetlands, gardens, and agricultural practices. Do we have a reason to be optimistic? We have reason to be cautiously optimistic about climate protection. Human history is full of examples where we learned from our mistakes, misfortunes, or undesirable trends. The agricultural revolution of the 18th century, the discovery of bacteria in the 19th, and the invention of vaccines in the 20th are some of the examples of what humanity can achieve when challenged with a seemingly unsolvable problem. True, we must overcome several hurdles, the resistance of political and profit-centered structures which have short-term benefits in an economy based on carbon fuels. But these barriers can be overcome in the 21st century through education and promotion, successful cases, and the inherently superior economics of a sustainable and renewable energy and resource based society. We will need political leadership at all levels to make it happen. BPP/GCC-EssayBank 1 of 6 ...read more.

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