Global warming and fossil fuels
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We live in a unique spot in the history of the Earth. For 4500 million years Earth has existed. Changes and evolution were counted in millions of years until the past 100 years, when gargantuan events occurred.
During these past 100 years the growth in technology, production and population was greater that at any other time in history. But during these 100 years man has also
depleted much of the earth's fossil fuel reserves, which were formed 300 million years ago. Once gone, these fuels, that we buy for a few Rand at the pumps and take for granted, will be gone forever. (click on pic to enlarge)
Scientists and other clever people, like the ones who gave us cars in the first place, are struggling to find alternatives to fossil fuels, or hydro-carbon dependence as it is sometimes referred to. If they dont, our energy holiday will be over, and the cars we drive will become as obsolete as the ships that carried Vasco do Gama and Columbus on their great voyages of discovery.
And burning these fossil fuels over the past 100 years has made a lot of smoke, and upset the delicate balance of gasses in the atmosphere. The earth's friendly atmosphere
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is vital to the existence of man and feeds us and protects us in many ways, provided we look after it. This attack on the atmosphere has lead to Global Warming and the outcry against it. While we still walk and breath, it's easy to say "so what" to this matter many of us probably dont really undertand, because its smoke you cant see, but David killed Goliath, and that is what we are doing to the atmosphere, they say. Like a solution to fossil fuel dependance, a solution to global warming is a long way off.
While fossil fuel dependence is in the hands of highly technical people, Global Warming is in the hands of everyone. Never before has any issue transcended international boundaries like this one. So Global Warming has landed with United Nations. The UN April 2007 report is said to have been contributed to by over 2000 scientists. The report is an appeal to everyone to take responsibility for their own "carbon footprint", nations, local authorities and individuals. It aint gonna be easy, when more of us want to drive, and across the border others are cutting down rain forests to sell the wood.
Scientists have long pondered and debated global atmospheric temparature balance. Initially their interest was merely academic, to try and explain the great ice-ages. Today it is very immediate, with international attention on global warming fast approaching a crisis. We are facing a reverse process from the ice-ages, with potential unstable climates, droughts, food shortages and rising sea levels.