On October 30, a report commissioned by British Treasury Chief Gordon Brown, who is likely to become Britain’s next prime minister, stated that unchecked global warming will devastate the global economy on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression. The 700-page report was amassed by Sir Nicholas Stern, chief of the Government Economic Service and former chief economist of the World Bank, and it evaluates a body of scientific studies on global warming, from an economic perspective.
Moreover, it affirms that if the sources of greenhouse gases remain unrestricted, average temperatures could rise by two to three degrees Celsius in the next 50 years. As a result, one sixth of the world’s population would, “face floods or droughts, and crop production in Africa would so significantly diminish that several hundred million people would be at risk of starvation.”
The same day, Stern also declared that former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has been hired to advise the British government on climate change. Oddly enough, only a few days earlier, his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, was shown here at Cosford Cinema. For those of you who don’t think that global warming is, in fact, occurring, I strongly recommend that you see this documentary. It abounds with undisputable physical evidence and scientific explanations.
For those of you who have seen the documentary and still doubt the existence of global warming, I urge you to consider that the number of severe storm and droughts around the world is dramatically increasing – think about 2005’s record-breaking hurricane season. Furthermore, glaciers are melting, and plants and animals are being forced from their habitats. The proof is readily observable.
In order to reverse the effects of global warming, Stern contends that the world must shift to a “low-carbon global economy” through measures such as taxation, regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, and a global carbon dioxide emission trading system. The European Union has already instituted such a system. It sets overall limits for carbon emissions whilst allowing businesses to trade their quotas. British officials also strongly support initiatives like the Kyoto Protocol. On November 1, British Environment Minister David Miliband said that it is essential for the U.S. to join the Kyoto Protocol. “They’ve got a huge contribution to make and it’s important that they make it,” he proclaimed. In the past, President Bush has called Kyoto “unrealistic” and argued that it would cause layoffs and price increases.
The bottom line is that global warming is quickly evolving into a colossal concern for all of humanity, and the U.S. seems unruffled. Our country continues to emit more greenhouse gases than any other industrialized nation – even more than many of them combined! Don’t you think it’s about time to recognize our duty to take action? Our politicians must get on board with the U.K. and the other environmentally-savvy countries that are taking steps to halt global warming’s perilous progress.
Victoria Genuardi is a freshman majoring in communications. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.