GIBS-VIEWSLETTER # 1

 “CLIMATE CHANGE: WHAT IS THE TRUTH?”

NASA Scientist Jim Hansen left his job so that he can  speak the truth on global warming! 

By Robert Y. George Ph.D.

American public should know, while the Republican as well as  Democratic candidates seek the  highest  office in our  nation (CEO of the  World  or “Pastor-in-Chief”) that politicians are wrong when they say that the global war on terrorism is truly far more important than global warming. Both are important.  Denial is a river in Egypt as Mark Twain wisely stated.

 

       Al Gore was criticized squarely in the Congress  during  recent hearings both in the House and Senate for failing to promote nuclear power-plants in our nation when he was in the  pinnacle of power as our Vice President. Some Senators asked him to change his life-style too to conserve energy in his luxurious mansion.

 

       Al Gore must be recognized as the champion to promote public awareness of global  warming scenario (“Inconvenient Truth”) just as Jacques Cousteau

Cousteau
Cousteau

 kindled interest on pollution impacts on the  wealth  and health of the ocean depths, particularly the spectacular coral reef ecosystems. Revealing the truth about a process that is man-induced and not natural is important but more important is to find a solution to the problem before it really becomes an irreversible crisis.

 

     I do not buy the false theory that the President of the United States of America is the one to find answers to all mankind’s problems, including global warming. In fact the late Senator Patrick Monihan warned wisely that trouble would begin when the Soviet Union (Russia now) is no longer a ‘Super Power’ and Americans will become the only ‘Super Power’. Our role is responsible leadership and therefore, we should set an example by signing the Kyoto treaty and reduce our carbon emissions with an action plan to encourage Australia, China and India to curb carbon emission. Our President George Bush’s term terminates in less than two years but there is light at the end of the tunnel when the 44th President in 2009 gives priority to global warming issue and shifts gears to alternate energy sources such as nuclear, solar, wind farms in the ocean, bio-fuel, hydrogen, geothermal and tidal energy.

 

      We, no longer, can say that we lack evidence for global warming. It is not only proven in more than 900 peer-reviewed science papers but also we witness: (1) Migratory birds changing their routes and time of onset of migration (2) Boreal jellyfish taking over near North Pole (3) Polar bears drowning in the Arctic Ocean (4) Adelie penguins in Antarctica declining rapidly in the last 3 decades with

“Endangered” Adelie Penguins

“Endangered” Adelie Penguins

 concurrent reduction of Antarctic Krill (My research from UNCW originally established the baseline data of Krill abundance in Palmer Peninsula region in the 1980s) and (5) Ice-caps dwindling on mountain summits (Kilamanjaro, Alps, Himalayas and Andes) and glaciers melting faster than ever.

    

       The brutal fact is that the United States is now far behind  many industrialized nations in mathematics and science education in our public schools. This situation must change. Likewise, public knowledge on our stressed and endangered ecosystems and declining biodiversity is meager. This situation must improve. Thanks to the wisdom of  the  conservation biologist Prof. Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University for promoting the project on the “Encyclopedia of All Species” (1.8 million known species) which is now funded by Sloan Foundation and administered by the Smithsonian Institution. No doubt, we need to establish the current species composition of the earth before we witness the demise and extinction of the bulk of the extent species due to the ongoing climate change.

Wilson
WILSON

 

        The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), composed of 2000 scientists, concluded that sea-level rise would be as much as 23 inches in the 21st century but not  20  feet  as some claim. Jim Titus of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was asked not to give public speeches of  his  findings on potential sea-level increases  and consequent damages to beaches and wetlands. The Bush administration agenda pushed for fossil fuel in his first term and now urges to  cut  foreign oil import. Phil Cooney of American Petroleum Institute (API) was hired to head the White House Office of Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ).

 

      American Public is not aware of the fact that government agencies have two kinds of scientists, those doing hard science such as James Hansen of NASA and others working with decision makers to formulate priorities in science policies. Hansen is the country’s leading scientist on global warming but he was denied opportunities to speak on climate change. Hansen became restless and resigned his job to tell the truth on global warming. This case in point is worth looking into because we will kid ourselves if we as responsible citizens of this great nation fail to tell the truth and avert impending dangers of climate change. The solution is not just self-dependence on oil and gas but shifting to hydrogen-cars and reductions in carbon emissions as a national policy and at the state level, as California has done it.
 

 Deep-Sea Cold Coral and fish

 Deep-Sea Cold Coral and fish

 
 Star-News Column on July 30, 2001
 Star-News Column on July 30, 2001

* Dr. Robert Y. George, formerly Professor of Biology and Marine Biology at UNCW (1972-2002),  is now President of the George Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainabilty (GIBS), Wilmington, N.C. He also serves as adviser to NOAA-Fisheries and in this capacity he is instrumental in the establishment of the Inter-agency “Government Board on Deep-Sea Coral and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems”. He also serves on the Deep-Sea Ecology Working Group of the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Seas).

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