U.N. Breathes New Life into Kyoto

by | Aug 13, 2004 | Environment

If one door closes, another always opens — that’s the creed that seems to guide the United Nations, anyway, as a recent report lays the groundwork for a new avenue of attack against carbon dioxide emissions. Evidently unhappy with America’s decision against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. measure that would damage our nation’s economy […]

If one door closes, another always opens — that’s the creed that seems to guide the United Nations, anyway, as a recent report lays the groundwork for a new avenue of attack against carbon dioxide emissions.

Evidently unhappy with America’s decision against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. measure that would damage our nation’s economy by forcing CO2 and greenhouse gas emission regulations upon our energy, industrial and agricultural producers, and ostensibly dissatisfied with the chances for immediate passage of S. 139, the Kyoto-like Climate Stewardship Act advanced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman and John McCain, the United Nations has uncovered a new means for enacting its agenda.

“Carbon dioxide in world’s oceans may threaten many marine species,” a July 16 U.N. News Center headline reads.

A U.N.-sponsored gathering of scientists in May to discuss climate change found that CO2 levels in the world’s oceans are possibly threatening the long-term sustainability of certain marine species, and that more research is needed to determine what policies should be enacted to allay this risk. Interestingly, though, this meeting — headed in part by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the global body that seeks “human security through a better management of the environment” — included an admission that “the absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans is considered a beneficial process that reduces the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and mitigates its impact on global temperatures.”

This revelation is most worthy of noting, but then so, too, is this scientific community’s conclusion that changes in oceanic carbon dioxide levels are “clearly underway and their effects may be large and may seriously destabilize marine ecosystems.”

That’s a lot of maybes, especially when policy change, in the form of additional regulation over economic development activities, is at stake, and even more especially when the type of change that’s being discussed here, according to the key scientist involved with these findings, involves predictions “on the time scale of several thousand years.”

The message that’s supposed to be transmitted is that serious environmental damage could result if nations do not take heed now to control the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere, because the oceans will soon become so saturated with CO2 as to destroy this natural means for processing the gas.

The more honest message, though, is science cannot accurately forecast thousands of years into the future. And even though many in the research field still refute the classification of CO2 as a climate pollutant, the United States may nonetheless be drawn toward promoting this biased argument, if recent congressional actions can be considered.

The key scientist whose studies of ocean CO2 levels led to this U.N. determination of marine ecosystem danger is Christopher Sabine, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a U.S. Commerce Dept. agency established in 1970 by executive order as five separate groups tasked, loosely and absent clear mission, with gathering data “about the global oceans, atmosphere, space and sun

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Cheryl K. Chumley is a columnist who writes for <a href="http://www.abetterearth.org/">www.abetterearth.org</a>.

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