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The problem of “global warming” is one denied by anyone that has fossil fuel to squander and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of it to maintain an economy that relies upon its use. Such places are often combined with a level of affluence that puts their economies into the “Select club” that can “Afford” to ignore the forthcoming global catastrophes that will one day come to pass.

In the past week the Philippines have had a “Visitor” that has ravaged the otherwise sedate countryside and it could be said to be a result of the blatant disregard of the consequences of a cavalier attitude toward the penalties of increasing the build up of greenhouse gases inside the atmosphere of the Earth. The “Visitor” was a typhoon, which began out in the ocean to the east of the Philippine archipelago, a malevolent swirling manifestation of nature’s rage. A typhoon has an “Eye” which is often very calm whilst a few hundred yards either side of the eye hell rages unchecked. Around the circumference of the storm system heavy electrical storms of thunder, lightning and torrential rain. Inside the weather system high winds scavenge the ground sucking up debris, ripping through houses and buildings, tearing trucks buses and automobiles from the highway. The wind speed can easily reach 100 miles per hour but the typhoon that struck the Philippines on Thursday 30th November had wind speeds in excess of 165 miles per hour. Coupled with the heavy rain crops, hillsides and remote regions were turned into a sea of mud in a few hours leaving many Philippines homeless, power lines destroyed and communication reduced to that of “Word of mouth”.  The death toll from this natural disaster was not large by comparison with the Indonesian tsunami but nearly 400 are known to have died with a further 600 unaccounted for according to figures from The Red Cross. Typhoons are not new to South East Asia but what is new is the frequency with which they occur and the increasing severity. In the Atlantic Basin the frequency and severity of hurricanes is also increasing and both storm systems owe their birth to the same conditions, a sea temperature of a constant 80 degrees Fahrenheit [26.5C] not just at the surface but also down to a depth of about 50 metres [150 feet]. Such temperatures are becoming the norm rather than the exception and the frequency with which the sea can attain these conditions is now so regular that the sea temperatures can almost predict the likelihood of hurricanes and typhoons. The phenomena occur within 20 degrees north or south of the equator, which is also the point on the surface of the Earth closest to the sun and therefore the hottest naturally. Where these storms originate determines their cyclic rotation, north of the equator they rotate clockwise whilst storms that form south of the equator have an anticlockwise rotation. One two contributory factors are fuelling the frequency in the Atlantic Basin, one is the disregard with which the south American rainforests are being destroyed, every year the forest recedes by an area the size of Belgium and with it the forests ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at the rate it once did. The remaining forest is now for fifths of its size two hundred years ago whilst the population of the world has increased ten fold and because the carbon dioxide level is rising the heat delivered to the surface of the Earth by the Sun cannot be dissipated and so it accumulates day on day heating the world’s oceans. The second naturally occurring contributory factor is the world’s largest desert, The Sahara in Africa. The desert is growing in size, places in North Africa that were not desert now are and a desert is a massive collector and storage medium for the Sun’s heat. With little discernable rainfall and no means of cooling the desert temperature is rising. The difference between average day temperatures in the desert and the temperatures at night are diminishing which means that the desert is absorbing and holding the heat far longer than it has ever done before. With the desert holding the heat and imparting that stored heat to the atmosphere and the reduction in rainforest increasing the level of carbon dioxide the sea is becoming hotter and it is staying hotter for longer. That means that the conditions for both hurricanes is better than ever and as African rainforest is also being cut down at an alarming rate the seeds of catastrophe are being sown.
The South American rainforest not only affects the Atlantic Basin but also the Pacific Ocean with equal distain, the carbon dioxide levels are rising there too compounded by the disappearance of South East Asian rainforests and the volcanic nature of the area which also emits massive amounts of heat into the atmosphere so it is not surprising that there have been several typhoons since the one that struck the Philippines. Vietnam, China and Japan have all had typhoons since the one that struck land near Manila though not as severe.
Given that there are “Natural” though man made reasons why the sea temperatures should give rise to hurricanes and typhoons it would seem logical that man would not aggravate the situation by contributing further to the downfall of the species but he does and on a scale that defies the imagination.

The location of the “Birthplace” of hurricanes and typhoons has one more contributory factor that is adding to the problem and it is something that can be controlled if man is to continue to live on Earth. It is “Industrialisation” and the scant regard paid to the “Fall out” caused by the industrial processes that many countries are now installing to bring prosperity to their people. It would be prudent to ensure that they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labours but if Industrialisation is not integrated into the ecosystem of the planet they will never see it in the long term.

In the “Atlantic theatre” the ocean is surrounded by major industrial nations that to an extent have begun to address the problem by environmentally controlling the damage that industry can do to the world. They have barely scratched the surface but the control of air pollution is high upon the agenda. In Europe there are moves toward the conservation of resources by recycling the waste most throw away every day but the recycling can and often does cause problems of its own for the environment. An example of such a problem is the “Personal computer, TV/white goods found in any home”. Technical advances now come so fast that in the time it takes to carry a newly purchased piece of equipment it has already been rendered obsolete by a new product on the market. So what happens to all those items when they are replaced?

Most of the time they are taken to the “Council tip”[city dump] and thrown away and no more is thought of the item but what happens to it at the tip? Often there is a special skip for these items and those skips when full are sold to reclamation companies. “Great!” they are being recycled. Well yes and no. Some of those discarded items find their way to China and the Philippines or Indonesia where the precious metals are removed and the remainder is burned on open fires that rage for days with no control over the thick acrid smoke from the plastic casings. There are literally acres of such fires burning right now in several countries and though the fumes are diluted into the atmosphere the contamination will take centuries to disperse. The price of reclamation in Europe and the northern hemisphere is being paid for by the contamination of the Far East where there are no controls. The situation is not helped by the emergent industrialisation of several huge economies to which “Environmental concerns” are of secondary importance. The same area where “Pacific Theatre” is a spawning ground for typhoons is also an area of massive industrial investment and activity, the one overlays the other in exactly the same way that it does in the “Atlantic Theatre”.

The “Similarity” between the two areas also holds one more requirement that accompanies industrialisation and that is a massive power requirement to drive the industry it supports and the amount of power required puts millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in exactly the area where it is of the most detriment to the environment, above the typhoon belt and above the hurricane belt.

Governments can only pass laws to control emissions that apply to areas covered by their territory and have no control over events beyond their borders. The UN can assert “Pressure” but has little means of enforcement. International agencies such as  OPEC [Organisation of petroleum Exporting Countries] And the IAEA [international Atomic Energy Authority] can control the supplies of fuel to regulate the production of power but that would be in a perfect world and any punitive measure would be an indiscriminate sword..
Every day the world generates power that it does not need to keep alight all of the light bulbs we all forget to switch off, we also need power to fuel the “Stand by” on TV’s videos ect. The power wasted every day by leaving that light on at work or your computer logged in after you have gone home is another source of wastage. No one government can legislate this wastage out of existence but individuals can.

If everyone in the world turned off one light bulb not in use every day the amount of power saved would light a city the size of Los Angeles for 300 years or to put it another way it would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by a figure in excess of 50,000,000 tons per year.


To see how Typhoons/Hurricanes are formed cut and paste this address to your browser[graphics by BBC]

Posted: December 6, 2006 ,   Modified: December 6, 2006

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