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Global Problems and Simple Solutions

Global client change is currently getting a lot of attention. As fascinating and complex as this situation is there are several things, we can be sure of:
1) Global temperature has change for 4 billion years.
2) Many times in the past, the earth has been devoid of polar ice caps.
3) Global temperature is a complex system.
4) Complex global problems do not have simple solutions.

The Simple minds of some politicians and the media have centered on a single cause of global warming, i.e. “the industrialization of the planet.” Whereas that problem has gotten the publics attention, unfortunately industrial pollution is not the largest contributor to climate change. World industrial CO2 production is 6,000 million metric tons annually. However, there are at least two other major causes that have a larger effect on global temperature that have been ignored. For example, according to an article in Scientific American, 600 million metric tons (MMT) of methane are produce by the worlds forest and rise into the atmosphere each year. Whereas this is about 1/10 of the CO2 produced by industry each year, methane warms the atmosphere 23 times more than CO2. Thus in terms of carbon equivalents, this methane is equal to 13,800 MMT of C02, or over twice the pollution effects of industry.

Most people are aware that photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Few are aware that a natural process called Metabolism produces carbon dioxide. Metabolism is the process by which all animal life on the planet depend on for survival. Consider, that:
1. The average human breathes about 30 times per minute.
2. That the human lung exchanges about 4.5 liters of air each breath.
3. The carbon content of the average exhaled air is about 5.5% carbon dioxide .
4. Carbon dioxide weighs 1.8 grams per liter
A few simple calculations based on these facts shows that the average human exhales 7 metric tons of CO2 each year. Currently there exist on the planet 7 billion humans all breathing. That results in 49,000 MMT or the fact that humans themselves produce 7 times more CO2 than industry. China is the only country in the world that is taking steps to correct this situation.

Bottom line, focusing the solution to a global problem on a single cause that produce less than 10 percent of the problem will not solve the problem.


By D J Dodds

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