Sunday, October 07, 2007

Earth in the Balance

Did you know:

  • NASA scientists say that hydrogen fuel cells may not be the "alternative fuel" of choice because emissions will further damage the ozone layer?

  • The global warming predicted for the next century amounts to approx. 5 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the temperature would approach those of the Mesozoic era, the age of the dinosaurs.

  • As the permafrost melts in Alaska, Canada, and Siberia, decomposing plants that have been frozen for hundreds of thousands of years send carbon dioxide and methane into the air. These emissions all contribute to the greenhouse effect.

  • The United States as a nation consumes about one-third more energy than the entire European Union, even though the EU has more than a third more people than the United States. Energy use per person is about twice as much as in the EU.

  • China recently passed the United States as the leading emitter of carbon dioxide (by virtue of its number of coal-fired power plants). A significant fraction of China's emissions could be attributed to the United States, since they arise from the consumer products manufactured for American markets.

  • Our planet is going to be in serious trouble very soon unless the United States in particular reduces the amount of coal-fired power plants and carbon emissions. In fact, many scientists fear that our planet's future may already be beyond our fixing.

I learned these things and a whole lot more--many of them things I was unhappy to learn about--in Mark Bowen, PhD's forthcoming book CENSORING SCIENCE (Dutton, January 2008), a book I just finished working on. Bowen is an award-winning writer with a doctorate in physics and a much greater understanding of the science involved in studying the climate than I'll ever dream of having. He's chronicled some unnerving events at NASA, NOAA, and some of the other federal agencies in recent history.

Preorder this book at Amazon now. It'll change how you look at mild winters, fierce hurricanes, and a greener Greenland.

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