The UN today released its latest findings on the phenomenon of Global Warming and concluded, modestly, that there is in fact very strong evidence that temperatures are rising world wide, and that there is indeed cause for concern.
The IPCC(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) also issued a statement saying that there is a 90 percent chance that much of the warming is due to human causes, therefore to greenhouse emissions. Though some criticized this statement, in that it was not issued as a certainty the IPCC aparently felt that it was necessary to excercize caution in stating its findings.
In the end the IPCC did the right thing and it is in the best interest of those who are truly concerned about these matters to make statements that are above all truthful. Those who would argue against saying that there is an element of probability to all scientific statements, have likely not thought out the nature of scientific inquiry. The weather is in fact quite unpredictable. Predicting tommorows weather is a challenge, predicting the weather over the next two centuries with certainty- is quite a stretch.
However, the IPCC warned, rightly I think that these effects are most likely going to last for centuries, assuming that our understanding of these systems is proximally correct. The likely outcome will be devastating. We have little reason to think that such widespread tempereture changes will bring anything but disaster. A rising sea and melting ice cap with increasing global temperatures will most likely cause havoc on our coastlines, and interior regions. The incidence of wild storms and drought will at some point cause enormous catastrophies
Of greater concern yet, is that though the earths atmosphere has cooled over the last ten years, due to an apparent drop in solar output, as well as due to the ongoing eruption of soufrier hills in montserrate, the temperatures have continued to rise on both the surface and the oceans, thus indicating that human causes may well be more efficient in raising temperatures than any natural tendency to lower global temperatures.
Though scientists have not made any reference to sub-surface mechanics there is still the possibility that such mechanisms may be affected by a rise in global surface and sea temperatures. Volcanic activity, and seismic activity have increased over the past ten years which would be in line with a relationship between surface temperatures, and activity in the core and mantle of the earth. Should such a relationship exist to some significant level, the consequences of global warming could be much worse than they are projected to be even now!
Ice core samples could serve to establish a correlation between past glacial periods and increased volcanic activity prior to the onset of those periods. If such core samples indicated a rise of SO2 levels, then we may have reason to suspect a relationship between the two.
Any correlation between variations of surface and sub-surface temperatures would indicate the possibility that global warming may be accompanied by violent seismic events as well. Though admittedly far fetched, such a possibility should not be ignored until it can be dismissed conclusively.
Ok, so what if there is a rise in global surface temperatures(we will assume that no evidence exists as of now for sub-surface temperature rises) what now? According to the IPCC there is nothing we can really do to stop the rise in temperatures but, we might be able to slow it down. However, we would have to act quickly if we had any hope of mitigating the effect.
I believe frankly, that if in fact it is important to mitigate these effects, then we have no choice but use the only available fuel that we have at hand, and thats nuclear fuel. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal solution, and will have some very undesirable consequences, yet in the end we really do not have any other solution ready to offset the rising emissions. China, India, Africa, and South America will have significant impact on the carbon fuel emission charts over the next few decades. The only possible dent that we can make in these projected rises in carbon dioxide and methane coming from these nations will be to persuade these powers to use an economically feasible substitute. The only substitute available is Nuclear Energy. We know all too well that use of this alternative will pose risks to the enviroment. We can only hope that these risks can be minimized. As a technical solution, Nuclear Energy, is at present, the only one available.
Yet we can see that political problems stemming from the use of Nuclear Energy are already causing destabalization, i.e. Iran and North Korea. Though there is little doubt that these powers are not merely intent on using Nuclear Power for peaceful purposes, still the fact remains that Nuclear Power is the short term answer to Greenhouse emissions. The fact that North Korea and Iran have become problematic does not bode well at all for human kind. It is my opinion that what has happened in Iran and North Korea is in fact a failure of diplomacy, and that this failure is in itself global in scope. In short, the lack of cooperation amongst the big players on the world stage i.e. Russia, China, Japan, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States has resulted in a stupid and intractable political dillema at the worst possible time. The problems of the mideast can turn deadly to human kind, so too can the problems of south east asia, and India Pakistan. At this the worst of all times for disagreement, violence, and outright greed and pettiness(of a few perhaps) we are faced with problems that have no conventional solution! Should the global warming phenomenon be worse than we have believed, we could well be facing extinction within a matter of decades! This is especially true if human societal failures follow natural catastrophies, as would almost certainly happen as of this moment in the development of human history.
Thus we see today, that our problems with global warming are in fact imminent, and that solutions to these problems are as much a matter of politics as they are technological. As of this moment, we may have some tools available to us in the coming struggle with nature, unfortunately our social order is not yet able to guarantee that we will remain reasonable enough to actually use any of those tools, or for that matter, to cooperate in any meaningful manner at all. Moreover, there is an increasing likelyhood that in the event of a serious catastrophic event caused by global warming, or any natural consequence of that warming, rather than being able as a world community to make reasonable, and well calculated decisions to enable our species to survive, we would instead most likely kill one another, in a blind effort to be the last one standing for such is the present underlying philosophy as evidenced by our present political dillemas around the world. In the end we will survive global warming only if we maintain our social order. The first problem at hand is to firmly establish protocal on a global level. Without a stable global community, all hope of survival is almost certainly lost.