Saturday, June 19, 2004

Global warming: it is real and it is serious: "Up to 64% of China's glaciers are projected to disappear by 2050, putting at risk up to a quarter of the country's population who are dependent on the water released from those glaciers. Today in the Arctic, ice thickness has declined by over 40% and "an area larger than the Netherlands is disappearing every year." According to scientists, Arctic sea ice could melt entirely by the end of the century.

"Ice cores from Svalbard glaciers in the Arctic region show that the twentieth century was "by far the warmest century" in the last 800 years. Between 1998 and 2001, the Qori Kalis glacier in Peru has retreated an average of 155 meters annually -- a rate three times faster than the average yearly retreat for the previous three years, and thirty-two times faster than the average yearly retreat from 1963 to 1978.

"Just southeast of Mount Everest in the Himalayan Khumbu Range of Eastern Nepal, the Imja Glacier has been retreating at a rate of close to 10 meters annually. It is but one among many glaciers currently in rapid retreat. According to Syed Iqbal Hasnain of the International Commission for Snow and Ice, "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world. If the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high." Over two billion people depend on the glacier-fed flow of the rivers from the Himalayan mountains. In Patagonia, ice fields have lost 42 cubic kilometers of ice every year for the last seven years, equivalent to the volume of ten thousand large football stadiums. The scientific journal Nature published this year the findings of 19 eminent biological scientists. Climate change, they concluded, will "commit to extinction" 18% to 35% of all land-based animal and plant species.""

"Resources from the sun, the tides, the waves, geothermal power -- all these are waiting to be harnessed; waiting, despite the enormity of the danger confronting us, because the resources that should be used to tap their regenerative power economically remain dedicated to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. A planetary betrayal.

"We all know what the problem is: burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil along with the unsustainable and inequitable use of our planet's resources. And we know what we have to do. We must generate our energy from clean, safe, renewable resources and use our energy in a sustainable way. Because there really is no other way. The measurable, time-bound development of renewable energy based on real and ambitious targets, matched with deep, rapid cuts in CO2 emissions -- this is what's needed today if we are to save the global commons from devastating climate-change impacts."

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