What’s The Real Cause for Climate Change?
“Wasted milk in the U.K. has the same carbon footprint as emissions from 20,000 cars”
– study by the University of Edinburgh, published in Nature Climate Change
We have a natural tendency to blame everything that goes wrong, first of all, on the behaviour of others. A look through human history at sacrifices and executions shows that if someone were not killed because others believed the person’s blame for something, people believed that the behaviour of actually sacrificing a life would solve the problem.
We want someone to blame. When weather patterns began to go screwy, with winters being cold enough to kill people and summers hot enough to cause others to expire, we looked around for someone to point the finger at.
In the case of climate change, as it came to be known after we gave up on “global warming” because some places got colder, the first cause was deemed to be “greenhouse gases” and the greatest emitters vehicles driven by us.
While generally speaking people know more about weather today than people before us did, what we know little about is the history of weather and how climate changes. We–many of us–assumed that climate and weather had never changed radically before in history.
Those of us who believed that were mistaken. Barely 160 years ago the northern hemisphere ended a period referred to in history as “the Little Ice Age.” That had lasted for 400 years.
What would you expect to happen at the end of an ice age? Of course, the northern part of the planet warmed up. It’s still warming. Climatologists (the honest and older ones) will tell you that climate cycles back and forth over the years, it never remains the same.
We can blame the warming on vehicle emissions and the Industrial Revolution, but ice ages have always ended by themselves, without human intervention, including with tail pipes.
Vehicles that burn fossil fuels do emit greenhouse gases into the air. This accounts for about 10 percent of what we add. Car manufacturers work to improve the fuel consumption in their vehicles. But why? To satisfy regulations in places such as the state of California.
I recently bought aftermarket (and “exotic”) air filters for two cars. I tested both and found dramatic improvements in fuel consumption, meaning I have to buy gasoline less often and the cars emit less greenhouse gases. Have such filters ever been found installed on stock vehicles right from the manufacturing plant? No.
Jet airplanes account for almost as much greenhouse gas in a year as all the cars (about 8%). No government has suggested grounding planes.
Among the worst contributors to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are power generating stations, many of which are owned by governments and all of which fall under government regulations. They add about 25% of all the gases. While there has been much talk of closing the coal-fired stations, the worst emitters, few have actually shut down.
In Japan, where most of the power used in the country before the tsunami came from nuclear generating stations, virtually every station has been closed since the tragedy at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear station. Nuclear power generation produces almost no greenhouse gas emissions.
Getting back to the wasted milk in our opening quote, that “wasted” means milk that was never used for anything to do with food consumption. Down the drain, so to speak. The study says that 360,000 tonnes of milk is wasted in the U.K. each year. Wasted.
Yet greenhouse gases resulted from use of fertilizers that produced the food to feed the cows and the cows themselves contributed a shocking amount of methane (far worse than carbon dioxide) into the air, plus there was fuel needed to transport the milk to the drains it eventually went down.
The study, titled “Global agriculture and nitrous oxide emissions,” also claims that if the British were to reduce their consumption of chicken to the level of the Japanese (26 kg down to 12 kg per person per year), that would dramatically reduce nitrous oxide emissions (emitted by soil and fertilizers) by 20%.
“Eating less meat and wasting less food can play a big part in helping to keep a lid on greenhouse gas emissions as the world’s population increases,” according to study leader Dr. David Reay.
Meanwhile, as the effects of the Little Ice Age ending fade and those who know about it die off, we can expect to be blamed for climate change according to our behaviour.
We can also expect to hear very little about the 300,000 chemicals that industries pour into public waterways each year. And the nearly half a million chemicals that industries chuff into the air we breathe. Who would tell us? Not the industries themselves.
As we learn about dramatic increases in diabetes, COPD (and other lung diseases) and allergies in our children, we must remember that those industries provide jobs. They could provide even more jobs if they stopped putting poisons into our air and water, but we shouldn’t count on hearing much about that either.
We are told that greenhouse gas emissions are largely responsible for the warming of the planet by a tiny amount. We are not told that industries are poisoning our air and water, harming our health and causing drug manufacturers to make fortunes every day.
As individuals, we can’t do much about the rising temperature of our atmosphere. Industries know that. We could do something about the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. They know that too. But they don’t want us to know.
Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for teachers and parents to help grow kids who will contribute to their communities instead of bringing them suffering and harm.
Learn more at http://billallin.com