Friday, May 26, 2006

Stewardship: Kiss snows of Kilimanjaro goodbye

The rise of just a few degrees in average world temperature will raise ocean levels about half a meter by 2100. So say nearly all scientists who've studied the issue, according to John Harte, University of California, Berkeley. Harte was speaking at the U.S.-China Symposium on Climate Change at UC Berkeley this week. Even Evangelicals agree that global warming is real and we need to act now.

But that's not all. Warmer air means less snow, including on snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. By 2020, Kilimanjaro could have a bare top, and that's just the good news, Harte says.

A related issue is soot (black carbon particles). Liquid and most solid aeosols actually cool the air mass under them, but soot soaks up heat and warms the air mass . Diesel engines produce soot. Outdoor fires produce soot. Global warming will increase the amount of wildfires. Many nations are trying to encourage use of diesel in vehicles.

Carbon dioxide is the number one cause of global warming, yet soot doesn't stay aloft as long as carbon dioxide. So reducing soot has a faster cooling effect, though CO2 emissions need to be reduced drastically. The Kyoto Protocol is a great step forward, but Kyoto ignores black carbon problems. Does anyone see the problem here? Is delaying action on climate change a foolhardy gamble?

"An Inconvenient Truth", a film about the impact of global warming, has started playing in select theaters. Watch for it in your area.

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