Thursday, May 31, 2007

Is Global Warming Good or Bad?

Forums dealing with global warming and alternate energy issues are filled with wildly differing points of view. One forum thread asked if global warming is a good or bad. That is an interesting question.

With sea level rise predicted at 0.5 cm per year in the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) fourth report, mitigation is recommended to reduce sea level rise. Mitigation of sea level rise includes, storm water runoff retention, wet lands restoration, forestry water shed expansion and water conservation.

Storm water runoff is being addressed due to pollution of estuaries in many parts of the world. Real estate developers are required to build retention ponds/lakes in many areas as a part of their projects. These ponds are often an aesthetic highlight of the developments. Some developers are including artificial wetland areas in the storm water retention plans that provide wildlife habitat and reforestation.

Wetlands restoration and protection has been embraced not only by the US government but groups like the Audubon Society and Ducks Unlimited for many years. These wetlands reduce pollution runoff, provide animal habitat and restrict construction. In addition, wetlands reduce saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers.

Forestry watersheds are important not only for prevention of erosion, but enhance aquifer recharge and reduce flooding potential. Improved forestry methods maintain these watersheds while producing valuable natural resources. Working with the forestry industry to expand watershed acreage will reduce real estate development in privately owned timberland areas, preserving more valuable woodlands without government intervention.

Water conservation is an issue that needs to be addressed more urgently in many areas of the world. Water conservation requires improved irrigation methods and more water treatment and reuse. Water conservation also includes the first three elements; storm water runoff, wetland restoration and water shed expansion.

Carbon dioxide reduction for the purposes global warming mitigation is stimulating inspiring advances in various energy fields. Improving energy efficiency and developing alternate energy sources will reduce dependence on foreign oil and eventually reduce energy costs to consumers. If wisely selected, these technologies will stimulate economic and technology growth similar to the space program’s stimulus in the 1960‘s and 1970‘s.

Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV) whether they use hydrogen, ethanol or synthetic fuels will greatly reduce both atmospheric and noise pollution. The efficiency of the FCV is much greater than internal combustion engines with equal performance.

Aviation grade bio and/or synthetic fuels are being developed that are much less polluting than petroleum based aviation fuels. Biomass production for aviation and road bio-diesel can be expanded to impoverished areas of the world improving local quality of life. Algae for example can be grown in saltwater or polluted water. Lack of adequate clean water is often a contributing factor to the condition of poorer nations. Algae farms produce a valuable cash crop and can provide clean water through desalination plants powered by algae bio-fuels or through algae treatment of polluted water. Since animal and human waste can provide nutrients for algae farms, sanitation in many areas can be improved for economic reasons.

Assuming that socially responsible efforts are made to combat climate change, yes global warming is a good thing.

3 comments:

BHUVAN CHAND said...

I have a blog containing good information on global warming. Ozone has doubled since the mid-19th century due to chemical emissions from vehicles, industrial processes and the burning of forests, the British climate researchers wrote. Carbon dioxide has also risen over that period. History of global warming is very deep since 1850.

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