London’s Imperial College University has been conducting experiments aimed at monitoring the increase in the world’s temperature. Professor John Harries has come up with some alarming statistics, published in this week’s Nature magazine. Comparing satellite data collected in 1996 (from the Japanese ADEOS satellite) with NASA statistics collected in 1969 (IRIS), the team has concluded that there are significant differences in the levels of Carbofluorocarbonates (CFC), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Ozone and Methane in the atmosphere. “The results are the direct result of the increase of the greenhouse effect”, the team concluded. They stated that the natural temperature of the Earth’s surface would be minus 18єC if a layer of gases did not give the Earth a heated shield. The increase in this shield’s thickness and density increases the temperature, as heat produced by our planet cannot escape and heat that enters from the sun becomes trapped. This process has been going on since the Industrial revolution at the end of the Eighteenth Century. Given these latest statistics, it is imperative that the next Hague Conference on the Environment adopts the Kyoto Protocol proposals for a significant reduction in polluting gases which contribute towards the Greenhouse Effect, Carbon Dioxide being the main culprit. President Bush, in his electoral campaign, had pledged himself towards his country’s reduction of CO2 output. It should be remembered that the USA is the country which contributes more polluting gases to the Earth’s atmosphere. Now however, President Bush has changed his tune. He states that it is “common sense” to drop these pledges because of the current state of affairs, mentioning the need to not aggravate the delicate state which the USA’s energy industry is in. The White House is faced with a hail of criticism from US Democrats, Hillary Clinton claiming that Bush’s position will have serious consequences for the world if the USA does not reduce its CO2 output. Its justification is a planned official statement which reads: “The President wants a reduction strategy for three other polluting agents: Sulphur DiOxide, Carbon Monoxide and Mercury”. Vice president Richard Cheney, better known as “Dick”, states that “the planned decrease in CO2 emission was a mistake, given the energy crisis which several countries face and due to the high price of energy” (sic). If the United States of America is not willing to review its policy of emission of polluting gases, it will most certainly be the subject of criticism by ecological groups in the near future, both at home and abroad.


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