Only two more degrees celsius to catastrophic climate change

mt everest

At COP3, leaders attempt to find feasible solutions to climate change | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As lakes form on the glaciers of Mt. Everest, the controversy surrounding greenhouse gases is becoming less of a controversy, and more of a critical issue — and rightly so.

In the past, world leaders have neglected global warming. Many were concerned that efforts to reduce emissions would harm their country’s economy.

According to NPR, the Bush Administration did not move forward with environmental efforts in 2007 because “there’s not enough bang for the buck. It says the pace and scale of cuts required by Kyoto would hurt the U.S. economy without providing significant environmental benefits.” This is before the measures were to take effect in 2008.

There were other irreconcilable issues.

At the Third Annual Conference of Parties, COP3, the United States initially signed the Kyoto Protocol, but later rejected it, while countries like China and India were not required to reduce their emissions. In 2012, Canada renounced it.

But the evidence that human activity has negatively affected the planet is undeniable. China’s own issues with pollution make the problem hard to conceal and deny.

Recently in China, according to CNN, “Residents… have been told stay indoors after air pollution in Beijing and neighboring regions rose to hazardous levels.”

According to the Global Carbon Atlas and CNN, “the largest contributors of greenhouse gases in 2013 were China with 28 percent and the United States with 14.5 percent.”

Public opinion is changing. A majority of Americans now not only believe that limiting greenhouse gas emissions will benefit the environment and the earth’s future, but they also believe the U.S. should commit to a “binding international agreement to curb growth of greenhouse gas emissions…”

According to the New York Times report on a poll, “Seventy-five percent of Americans polled said that global warming was already having a serious environmental impact or would in the future.”

The New York Times article also reveals “Sixty-three percent of Americans — including a bare majority of Republicans — said they would support domestic policy limiting carbon emissions from power plants.”

Finally, global leaders reintroduced the issue earlier this week at the 21st Annual Conference of Parties and discussed measures that would limit 200 countries’ carbon emissions, which majority of scientists believe drives global warming.

According to Scientific American, over the next couple weeks “leaders hope to emerge with a new international agreement that will keep global rising temperatures well below the 2-degree-Celsius threshold that scientists have deemed a ‘guardrail’ between dangerous and catastrophic climate change.”

More than 180 countries – rich and poor— have already submitted to reduce their emissions, and President Obama and other philanthropic leaders like Bill Gates have agreed to increase funding to help “double research and development money.” This is all in an effort to keep the momentum of reducing climate change going.

In spite of these efforts, there are detractors.

Lamar Smith, chairman of the House science committee, has used new subpoena powers to threaten the leadership of NOAA.

He has been demanding that the federal climate and weather agency hand over all emails and other forms of correspondence between scientists to see if there has been a “grand conspiracy to alter or misrepresent the data.”

Hopefully, leaders will cease to stand in the way of environmental efforts, and find realistic solutions to help stop climate change before the damage reaches a point of no return.

Assistant opinion editor Sarah Kim is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]


  • Sarah Kim … in this current election season … global warming (I don’t call it climate change) is the lowest of the low, when it comes to election issues. And thankfully most people are recognizing that. And I predict, that SocDems will lose another 1,000 seats nationwide, to go along with the 1,700 seats they’ve lost nationwide in the last two elections. Especially when the people find out that SocDems are now targeting our air conditioners.

    Sarah, your ‘Sky is Falling’ cry is falling on deaf ears. In the 1970’s – it was global cooling (allah the Time Mag cover), in the 1980’s it was nuclear disarmament for the SocDems with their love for Gorby, and with the fall of the Soviet Union, we now have SocDems embracing Global Warming. But since the Earth hasn’t warmed in 18+ years, the SocDems now call it Climate Change.

    The climate does change all the time with the seasons, but the cries of Global Warming is a hoax (allah East Anglia), and the only thing that GW Alarmist tout as proof of their claim are human made climate models. These models never take into account volcanism, precipitation, or the waxing and waning of the Suns cycle. And that’s just on the top of my head.

    A beef that I have with the hockey stick model that caused the sensation of global warming in the first place, was with the Fall of the Soviet Union. The Soviet military at the time accounted for most of the countries weather reports, and with the closing of many cold weather stations, nobody went back to erase the data from the closed station, and vuola — you have a hockey stick.

    One major thing that GW Alarmist like Sarah fail to take into account is the Earth’s ability to take care of itself. Whether people believe that eruptions of volcano’s dwarf human related emissions or the opposite, the fact remains that they cause cooling effects due with the sulfur dioxide given off traveling to the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Pinatubo in 1991 caused a global cooling effect, but not as large as the Krakatau (1883) and Tambora (1815) eruptions, which cooled the earth by about 1.3 degrees. And just recently, notable volcanic eruptions have also contributed their sulfur dioxide contributions to our atmosphere as well.

    We’ve had industrialization for about 250 years now, and only in the latter part of that 250, we have been mindful enough to bring our environment into account. We have done a lot thanks to reasonable effort to clean our environment. I mean, the Cuyahoga River hasn’t recently went up in flame … has it? If I drive on campus, I can breath with coughing, and can see downtown Houston without it being it being blocked by smog.

    The US has went above and beyond unilaterally when it comes to cleaning our environment, to the point of over regulating ourselves into a failing economy, where 95 million people out of work equals 5% unemployment?. By taking a Stalinist approach in preaching on the environment, you SocDems easily turn off those of us level headed out there.

    The only way real change will happen is when company liaisons sit on the same panels that create environmental policy in the first place. Instead SocDems, who is most cases never served in a company environmental, health and safety department, are trying to drag all of us kicking and screaming to their policies. And it’s a fleecing effort of the US that simply won’t work. And Sarah, don’t expect anything to come from this summit. It’s a non-binding effort that the US will never embrace, much less China and India. But it makes you feel good … it’s OK with me. If not Sarah … you can always go to your safe space.

    • Bob, then how come Exxon’s own scientist were warning them in 1977, and again in 1978 about the reality of climate change because of carbon dioxide. Which had them begin even more testing until the 80s when they suddenly stopped and started a campaign to deny it but never citing their own research findings? But now that these reports have surfaced we find out why, their own research supported the findings they had in 1977 and 78. The science is overwhelmingly there and denying it equates to denying there is gravity. Yes you can deny it and step off the building, but you will soon find gravity is a cruel mistress.

      • Hmm … what happened in 1977? … The Time Magazine cover “How to Survive the Coming Ice Age” … And it’s Global Warming … not Climate Change … heck, everything is Climate Change … if it rains its Climate Change … if it’s windy its Climate Change … when Fall turns to Winter — its Climate Change.

        Don’t fall for it my Love Handle Mama. The Earth’s climate is always changing. Did the planets inhabitants 12,000 years ago drive SUV’s, or invent industrialization? Of course not, yet the Earth warmed on its own, despite the activities of people living here.

        In the timeline of the planet ,,, man has been here (1) one second if that. And the planet has had some pretty bad days, with Thea’s collision that created our Moon, to the Deccan Traps coupled with the asteroid that finished off the dinosaurs. The Earth quite frankly, can take of itself. But that’s doesn’t mean man can be irresponsible about our time of stewardship.

        Compared to China, Russia, and India, the US is a paradise, yet our Socialist think we are the worst country in the World, and want to implement draconian reforms that will turn the US into a Third World country.

        Man itself has been versatile enough to overcome some curve balls that the Earth has thrown at it over the years. Some 70,000 years ago the Toba eruption caused a population bottleneck that nearly wiped man. Estimations are that disaster caused (wait for it) Climate Change, and no more than the population of the UH community survived; on the planet.

        Almost 10 years, Global Warming Alarmist, Al Gore, said when promoting his emotionalist movie An Inconvenient Truth said that we have “Ten Years Before the Earth Cooks.” There are only 53 days till we will be celebrating AlGore’s assertions; mostly by laughing.


        • China and India are worse because they have no regulations. That’s why in Bangkok they won’t let kids go to school because the air quality is so bad.

          Meanwhile, the folks you seem to vouch for are all about getting rid of the regulations that have prevented the U.S. from becoming the smog infested realm that is those countries.

          You also seem to have the definition of climate confused with weather/seasons. Climate is a fundamental pattern in the way a region’s weather and seasons behave, and sure, the climate on the planet changes without human activity, but I would contend that isn’t the problem. The problem is the amount of CO2 in the air. Plants convert CO2 into oxygen, but too much CO2 poisons even plants rendering them unable to produce oxygen. Sad day for us because that’s all we breathe. And it already only makes up about 20% of the atmosphere as is.
          The global temperature is rising. The only debatable point is whether humans are accelerating it or not. Either way, we will have to adapt, as you said, but the real problem comes when too many PPM of CO2 gets into the air. There will be no plants producing food for us or our livestock to feed on and then there will be no air to breathe. Fun stuff.
          Now, by current trends that won’t be a reality until more than 200 years down the road, but if you want to think about your progeny and can imagine them starving and suffocating and be okay with that then I don’t know what else to say.

          • If you are so worried about too much CO2 … plant more plants and trees.

            Show me that you are not a “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” SocDem.

            • I live in walking distance of my job, I use filtered water instead of bottled water, I recycle, etc. Not to say I’m holier than thou but I do my part to the best of my ability because I give a damn, and it’s not that hard.
              I’d really rather my descendants didn’t have to sleep on trash heaps hooked up to oxygen in a Wall-E-esque type of world.

              • Organite … you exist!!!!

                I applaud you for your efforts in our noble battle against “Climate Change.”

                But do you go far enough? Walking and drinking filtered water, and “giving a d*mn”, are pitiful excuses for support of our cause.

                Recycling is a good thing. Heck I recycle, and proudly do. Done rightly, it becomes a natural part of disposing of items responsibly as we nary give it a thought.

                Shucks I even recycle my dryer lint to make fire starters, and on occasion making paper, not to mention putting it out to help birds make nest in the Spring.

                There is no excuse for not using dryer lint. If you don’t have a dryer, then ask a laundromat attendant for some, or search out back.

                You can use dryer lint as nesting material for hamsters, and making disposable underwear or wiping material for the bathroom. Instead of using paper towels, dryer lint can be used to pick up spills.

                In potting, dryer lint makes the clay dryer; if you have an art class, you can use dryer lint in paper machete, which makes projects better to mold, and you don’t have to use as much newspaper, which we all know causes Climate Change.

                If you make little dolls for the kids in Africa, dryer lint can be used as stuffing in the dolls. Use can even use the stuff for pet bedding, or stuffing a mattress that is collapsing.

                I challenge you Organite … if you are going to claim stewardship of our planet in our fight against Climate Change, then ACT LIKE IT!!

                • I do exist. Mostly in dreams and nightmares, but every waxing crescent moon I manifest in physical form to haunt campus.
                  I’ll admit that the many many apparent uses of dryer lint eluded me. But hey, look at you being socially responsible. It’s hard to fathom that beneath the hard conservative exterior of yours is a gooey liberal center.

                  • Organite .. way to lighten up!!!

                    You making ‘ol Bob shed a tear here for your initial jaunt into the arena of humor.

                    For SocDems, mustering humor is a hard task, and if they do attempt it, the result is usually dry and unnatural leaving the audience with a bad taste in their mouths. I’m mean have you heard the President’s flailing attempts at the concept. Am I not right?

                    Actually, I’ve been having a growing like for you and Theresa Bathory. I don’t care for GunFreeUH so much; because the petulant name calling does affect my good center. Just kidding.

                    I actually hope GunFreeUH does wake up and realize that just because someone disagrees in his non-safe space world, it does not call for resulting to sixth tactics.

                    Please remind me of the next crescent moon. I may want to my explore my gooey liberal center and manifest into a Caitlyn Jenner look-alike.

                    • It’s probably hard to see through text, but I take virtually nothing seriously or personally. Again, all of our banter is in good fun at least on my end.
                      You just have to realize that you make it incredibly easy to make fun of you sometimes.

                    • I agree with you Organite (is that a female gem?)… I don’t take any of the calls of racism or being inhuman seriously. And I’m glad that you let slide my poking around as well.
                      I don’t have enough energy to muster hate in myself for anyone.
                      But I do love to exercise my mind in intellectually jousting in those that I happen to principally disagree with in the issues of the day.
                      I try to explain my thoughts so that UH peeps can at least contemplate an opposing view to chew on should they doubt or want to expand their mind on an original premise.
                      Keep it real.

        • Bob, my misguided miscreant. Yes the world’s climate has always been in flux and changing, and in the time line of the world man has existed only for the smallest portion but… the climate changes we are seeing and that ARE happening would, before man was here, have taken thousands and thousands of years to come about or would have been from a world wide catastrophe such a few massive volcanoes erupting within the same year.
          Our pollution is bringing about a change that before would have taken thousands and thousands of years to happen on its own.
          As for this country, yes we are not as bad as China or India, we have an EPA and regulations; so our polluting corporations moved to China and India where there are no regulations. Guess who sold the Chinese all those coal burning electricity plants, yeppers the good ol USA. And now, for the last 10 years, the ice in Greenland is black from the pollution and causing rapid ice melting.
          Look we can fix this, we only need for the RepCons to take their blinders off and choose to do something here and in other countries.
          But the RepCons won’t because they only know how to cry and whine and shut down the government while blaming everyone else because its us evil socdems and our war on christmas that is causing all our problems.
          Love my handles, Bob, love em!

          • Misguided miscreant. Oh girl … I feel so naughty being spanked by you.

            I still maintain my assertions when it comes to Global Warming. Especially in regards to current day volcanism that counters any damage being done by man, if it even is happening. Besides determinations of planetary warming or cooling can only be determined after the fact.

            And blaming the US for China’s coal plants? Come on, it would have either been us or the Russians, and wouldn’t you support the US selling them the technology instead of the Russians.
            I mean, some metal worker has been able to keep his job, along with the support people who do the prep and breakdown of the processes to create materials in the first place.
            I’m getting a little aggravated at your One Dimensional Thinking when it comes to these issues.
            Remember in the movie “Contact” starring Jodie Foster. YouTube contact primer. The aliens sent the blueprints, but all the sharpest SocDem minds couldn’t figure it out. It took the mean evil rich guy Hadden to show Arroway how to find the primer and in turn find a way to decoding the document to building the worthless device in the first place.

            I challenge you my love handle mama … think like a Vegan … the star not the diet.

            • A vegan? No thanks I love me my steak way to much to go Vegan. And those metal workers… they were Korean, as there is where they get their steel. Remember my vegan RepCon, Contact was fiction, a movie.I stand on the facts proven by science.

              Side note I am going to miss sparing with you over winter break. It has been fun pinning you to the mat. *grins*

              • Girl?


                Go and enjoy your Christmas break to that special safe-space off campus where you are free from the vestiges of ConRep commentators and potential ISIS campus shooters.

                And you might want to rent the movie Contact, and see if there actually are hidden meanings in the primer revelation scene between Hadden and Arroway.

                Merry Chrismahanukwanzakah and Happy New Year.

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