Readings25Snow13.docx

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READINGS WEEK 25 SNOW: CHAPTER 13 GLOBAL WARMING
PRECIS
No one, favours a gradual or precipitous change in global climate because the
consequences could be catastrophic
There are significant differences on the parameters of the problem (exactly what will be
affected and how much) and on the quality of the science underlying claims on either
side (especially when extrapolations are made far into the future)
Global warming is the direct result of the release of so-called greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere in volumes that are in excess of the capacity of the ecosystem to eliminate
them naturally
Vast majority of the problem comes from the burning of fossil fuels
The natural method of containing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is
the absorption on conversion of that gas in so-called carbon sinks which separate the
two elements and release them harmlessly back in to the atmosphere
This blanketing effect keeps excess heat in the atmosphere and the result is a warmer
atmosphere and the phenomenon of global warming
One aspect of this debate has to do with causation of the problem and hence
responsibility
They view developed countries as the cause of the problem and thus believe those
countries should solve the problem by reducing emissions
Developed countries seek them to refrain from the same kind of fossil driven growth
that they underwent because doing so will simply make the greenhouse gas effect
worse
The requirements of the agreement have raised controversy because of the differential
levels of reduction they impose
Since the urgency to engage in such a process depends on whether or to what extend
the problem exists, positions on global warming are then presented
THE ROAD TO KYOTO
Kyoto became the lightening rod for support or opposition because it provided the most
comprehensive set of regulations and guidelines that have occurred to that point
The document and its requirements are complicated and technical making a detailed
description impossible within the confines of this case format
The US is the world largest producer of greenhouse gases, and thus the protocol’s
provisions have questionable effectiveness without American participation
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