Thursday, April 20, 2006
Alaska feeling effects of warming earth
CNN Producer Steve Turnham and I traveled to Alaska recently to report a series of stories on the how global warming is affecting America's northernmost state.

One perspective we tried to capture in our pieces is that of the natives whose families have been in the state for generations. They, perhaps better than anyone else, know how the changing climate is affecting Alaska's glaciers, wildlife and age-old traditions. But getting to them wasn't easy.

Fairbanks, Alaska, whose population of around 30,000 people is big enough to make it the second largest city in the state, was our launching pad. From there, we wanted to go to Barrow, the northernmost point in the United States, about 350 miles north of the Arctic Circle, to talk to some locals.

We took an Alaska Airlines flight toward Barrow, accompanied by a bunch of scientists and students who were going there for a climate change meeting. The pilot circled Barrow for roughly 30 minutes before determining it was not safe to land due to something called "ice fog," which I had never heard of before that day. We got impressive aerial shots of the area from the plane, but we couldn't get on the ground to talk to anyone.

Back in Fairbanks, we rented a car and drove three hours into the mountains of central Alaska to a town called Minto. On the way, on a deserted snowy road, we happened upon a woman with two small children, whose pickup truck had broken down in the middle of nowhere. One of the things you realize in the Alaska wilds is that it's such rough country you're very much obliged to help anyone who is stranded. The woman's name was Janet, and she just happened to have a son living in Minto, the town we were driving toward.

So we packed Janet and the kids into our vehicle and off we went to Minto. When we got there, we dropped Janet and the kids off at her son's house and went in search of the town's leaders. We talked to the chief and some of the village elders about the changes they've seen in the weather.

There is a certain uniformity to the stories the villagers tell. All say it is warmer than it used to be. Also, many of them say they used to be able to forecast the weather to a degree, but now they say it's very unpredictable.

The next day we wanted to try again to get to Barrow. But realizing we might end up circling in the sky again (and burning up the budget for this trip), we decided to send Doug Schantz, our cameraman, on his own to see what, if anything, he could get. He actually got on the ground, shot beautiful footage of the sea ice and the town, and did some solid interviews to boot.

The native elders he interviewed talked about the changes they have seen in the area since they were children -- things like more sunburns and insects, and having to go farther out to hunt for bowhead whales, a major source of food for the Inupiat tribe.

Earlier on this trip, we took a helicopter ride to the Grewingk Glacier in sketchy weather. When we put down on the glacier it started snowing, and there were small avalanches of snow falling out of the mountains that surround the ice field.

Scientists say the glaciers in the area are shrinking dramatically. The question is whether the retreat of the glaciers is directly related to carbon emissions or natural heating in the atmosphere.

It's important to note that while there is still a lively debate over whether global warming is the result of burning fossil fuels or regular oscillations in the atmosphere, most scientists agree that the climate is indeed warming. And as we saw in Alaska, the warming of the earth's atmosphere already is having a significant impact.
Posted By Joe Johns, CNN Correspondent: 2:08 PM ET
  49 Comments
Once again nature is pitted against humanity's unsatiable desire to wreak havoc on the environment. However, this is a poor example, one rooted only in aliasing climate change with the term 'global warming', so that we can beat on oil companies a little more. Oil companies aren't the evil here, we are. We destroy our surroundings far faster then nature can repair them.
If you read the scientific literature you can see that global warming will have an major impact on the environment over the course of DECADES AND CENTURIES, but over fishing, damming rivers, suburban sprawl, over fertilizing, ground water depletion, etc are happening here and now and are far worse then a few dead polar bears. Why don't we stop attacking, directly or indirectly, the oil companies and change ourselves - if you don't like oil then don't use it. If you care about the environment then change your ways first and then change others.
Joe, please look at climate change instead of global warming....they aren't the same.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 3:43 PM ET
Joe, I was sad to see you succumbing to the phony balance instinct by leaving open the 'manmade or natural' question. People who champion the 'it's just a natural swing' argument do so because they can further argue 'if it's natural, we both can't and shouldn't do anything to try to reverse it', and go on with their pillaging.

At this point, however, whether the warming is a result of human activity or not is moot. Just as much as a new Ice Age, the results to us are going to be enormous, and it's not too alarmist to suggest that it may prove ultimately fatal, if not to the species, at least to civilization.

The question now should be, whether or not global warming is caused by human activity,is there anything humans can do to halt or reverse it?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:01 PM ET
This piece underscores the move of our society away from science and toward stories. It's ludicrous to think that the question of whether there is global warming or not can be addressed through anecdotes - especially when there is a mountain of statistical data and sophisticated analysis available.
Posted By Anonymous Joe Prendergast, Durham NC : 4:01 PM ET
I was so glad to see that 360 was covering Global Warming. It is such an important issue that is too often ignored. It broke my heart to hear that polar bears were drowning. They are such magnificent animals and I just never thought that they could be drowning because of global warming. Last night's report was also great because too often people see global warming as just an environmental issue that 'tree-huggers' have created, but you showed everyone the human toll that global warming has taken, as well as the impact on the environment. I hope that the team at 360 will continue their coverage of this issue until something is done to stop the yearly increase in temperature. Thank you again for your amazing coverage.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly Miller, Lancaster, PA : 4:02 PM ET
In your article you state, "It's important to note that while there is still a lively debate over whether global warming is the result of burning fossil fuels or regular oscillations in the atmosphere". Actually, the fundamental debate over the causes of global warming has ended, and virtually 99.9% of legitimate environmental scientists (including the membership of the national academies of science of eight nations, including the U.S. National Academies of Science and the British Royal Academy), agree that global warming is real and is without any legitimate scientific doubt anthropogenically caused by human dumping of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

The "lively" debate you refer to is largely funded by the Big Carbon lobby, namely ExxonMobile and General Motors, which have donated millions of dollars to various conservative think tanks to employ "scientists" of dubious reputation to keep alive the notion that there is still doubt as to the causes of global warming. Please visit www.realclimate.org for more information, or read the Intergovernmental Panell on Climate Change Third Annual Assessment to learn why global warming cannot be attributed to any other cause than human-caused CO2 emissions. Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Mueller, Easton, PA : 4:05 PM ET
!8,000 years ago there was a one mile high ice sheet along the coast of Conn. that stretched across the entire continent. Think its been warming up for a while now ?
W. Giebel
Posted By Anonymous Wendelin Giebel, Miller Place,NY : 4:06 PM ET
George W. Bush not signing the Kyoto Treaty on hindsight will be one of the biggest blunders of this century. U.S., probably the biggest polluter could have signaled to the world the willingness to change it's ways to help Mother Earth heal itself. Global Warming and Environmental issues are beyond politics and economics. We have to take care of our life boat, otherwise we ALL drown.
Posted By Anonymous Jon Rich - Skokie, IL : 4:30 PM ET
I will not take a position on whether people are causing it, or natural trends (the earth having both been completely covered in ice, yet tropical reptile bones found in the artic... But I am quite surprised that it is already affecting us. I thought this was a problem i would never have to deal with/witness. But the earth is changing fast, and I am very shocked, and a little frightened. And I have a feeling it is already too late to do anything about it, especially if it is natural.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah shaw, Charlotte, NC : 4:32 PM ET
I am a scientific person, and a former chemist- and have long been a skeptic of the popular notions of global warming. On Tuesday 4/18 that changed. I watched an impressive program called "Dimming The Sun", broadcast on NOVA on PBS. Watch it. It will really make you think, and puts together an excellent arguement for the vlaidity of carbon dioxide activated global warming, as well as particulate (smog) -activated global cooling (called global dimming).
Posted By Anonymous Tony Rausch Neptune, NJ : 4:33 PM ET
18,000 years ago there was a one mile high ice sheet along the coast of Conn. that stretched across the entire continent.

I can't tell if Wendelin wants the ice back or thinks it doesn't matter if warming continues until the entire planet is a desert.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:56 PM ET
It seems like people are affraid of Global Warming - as if it is going to be a big catastrophe. The world isn't going to turn into a desert for goodness sake. Listen to the real scientists when they say its normal; not the ones who get paid to make a big hype about it to the media.
Posted By Anonymous JP, Las Cruces, New Mexico : 5:10 PM ET
Hi Joe,
We can whine about everything in life. Or we can be a part of the solution, not part of the problem..If Global warming is because of a natural cycle,then we can do little. But if it's happening because of us..Then EACH of us had better start doing our part. Not tomorrow, today. I don't personally believe in being a victim of some doomsday. I can't change the world but I can change my roll in what happens and at the end of the day if enough people do that then Global Warming or any other manmade mess could be reversed and if it can't, well, at least I can say I did my best. Thanks for the post. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 5:24 PM ET
We can either pay attention to global warming/climate change and pay now or we can continue to stick our heads in the sand until the we practically drown form the melting polar caps and pay a whole lot more later.
Posted By Anonymous liz, Montgomery, AL : 5:32 PM ET
The world isn't going to turn into a desert for goodness sake.

Yeah, and those polar bears didn't drown. They were murdered, that's the ticket. A serial killer polar bear is taking them out and hoping to pass it off as 'global warming'.

What you're really saying, JP, is 'listen only to the news that makes me feel comfortable'. Sorry, but that's not news, that's Faux News.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 5:38 PM ET
Does it make sense to build up a city that is below sea level when the sea level is rising?

I figure I might as well hit two topics at once...
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 5:50 PM ET
Cycles are not controlled by us. The affect that we have on that cycle is infintesimal. Other cycles in the earth's history occured before we started using fossil fuels to a great degree and I suppose that was caused by human consumption?????
Posted By Anonymous Lyn Hunt, Danville, Ky. : 5:58 PM ET
Global warming is such a farse. Give cold hard FACTS about the longterm history of the climate on Earth and you MIGHT have a case that what is happening is nothing other than a normal climate shift. Until then you are just another voice in the crowd.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Hellige, Breese, IL : 5:59 PM ET
Yes I belive there is global warming. Man has never thought about the earth as something to care about. He has misused and abused it for years. Shame on us all !
Posted By Anonymous Joanne, Apalachin, NY : 6:05 PM ET
It seems like people are affraid of Global Warming - as if it is going to be a big catastrophe. The world isn't going to turn into a desert for goodness sake. Listen to the real scientists when they say its normal; not the ones who get paid to make a big hype about it to the media.


Hey, JP, remember Hurricane Katrina?
Do you not think that was a catastrophe?
Go back and read that part of the post before this one, where it says the Gulf of Mexico is warmer and that could cause a more intense hurricane season. Do the math. Global Warming IS a catastrophe. Extended hurricane seasons, drought, tornados, monsoons, the melting of the ice caps at a rate far faster than predicted... Maybe these things don't bother you because you live in New Mexico, and all you're going to end up with is oceanfront property. Good luck with that.
Listen to the scientists who don't have big energy companies paying them to say it's a natural thing.
Look at the data that says that our CO2 levels have been skyrocketing at an incredibly alarming rate since, oh, The Industrial Revolution.
Maybe learn a little something about the increase in the temperature of the oceans affecting fish stocks, which feed much of the world's people.

Then tell me this isn't a big deal.
Posted By Anonymous Max, Cambdridge MA : 6:17 PM ET
How can anyone with an ounce of common sense deny that our activities are not directly attributing to global warming. The Bush administration has stated on several instances that because we are not able to determine the extent that human activity has on the climate change we are experiencing, then it is not clear that global warming is taking place. Look around you and see the tumultous weather we have been experiencing, and then tell me how you can deny that global warming is taking place.
Posted By Anonymous Juan Felipe Bermudez, Las Vegas : 6:18 PM ET
So one of the greatest blunders we have made is when Bush failed to sign the Kyoto Treaty. This treaty was originated during the Clinton Admn. and Al Gore went to Kyoto to represent us. Fortunately any treaty must be approved by the Senate. When the Senate voted 96-0 that they would not approve the Treaty--amazingly enough Clinton never did submit the Kyoto Treaty for Official approval. So I wonder why??? If it was so great, surely Clinton would have fought for the approval of this important Treaty!!!
Posted By Anonymous Dee Danville, Ky. : 6:21 PM ET
One need only look to mankinds own past to see whether it is likely we will do anything about global warming. The native inhabitants of easter island deforested there entire island in an attempt to revere their ancestors. This led to the anihilation of their civilization (although did not cause them to go extinct). I think the fact that we are destroying the environment because we are lazy and greedy should not be a suprise to anyone. There is no debate, mankind has a long history of doing what is good in the short-term with absolutely no regard for its long term consequences. I suggest people stop whining about it and start stock-piling canned goods.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Williams Lowell, MA : 6:23 PM ET
Few volcanic eruptions can throw more pollution and gases in the air than combined human population. In the past global warming had happened and got fixed by mother nature. One thing thats missing this time are the forests. Only solution for this problem is planting more and more trees, which are engineered to grow fast. We can do our part by planting few in pots and yards.
Posted By Anonymous Nathan, San Jose, CA : 6:29 PM ET
Its real and its pathetic how the Bush administration has tried to downplay its affects. Its sad. Many parts of the world are already affected and most of the US ignores this reality. We need to change our lifestyle.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, San Diego, CA : 6:33 PM ET
The truth is that we read and hear about global warming but do not heed the warnings. We must all do our utmost to keep our consumption of all things hazardous to the environment. Whether we have brought this on ourselves or are going through a cyclical process does not matter. We must all conserve our reserves with our new-found knowledge.
Posted By Anonymous Tom; Houston, TX : 6:33 PM ET
Good points Joanne, but I have to disagree with you on one. MODERN/industrialized whatever you want to call us man has never thought about the environment outside of what we could take from it. There was once a time when man thought about the environment. Indigenous cultures from all over the world lived in harmony with the environment until modern man decided to go the other way and silenced them and their ways. This unsustainable world today, with all its gadgets and gismos, is our result. Most would say man is the master of all his environments....but the way I see it is you haven't mastered anything if you kill that which you are trying to master. Shame on us all for trying to make ourselves comfortable beyond the wildest dreams of those populations who were able to live within the confines of their place on this earth....
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, Chicago, Ill. : 6:37 PM ET
Let's assume for arguments sake that "the 99% of real scientists" are right - that man IS the SINGLE cause of global warming. If they have enough information to determine that all the other previous warming cycles throughout history were NOT caused by man, they are surely smart enough to figure out how the earth subsequently cooled all by itself (also without man's help), and simply instruct humanity how to jumpstart this natural cooling process. They can then tell us how to stop it when it's "cool enough", lest we fall into another ice age. While we're at it, let's stop this ridiculous earthly rotation that causes snowstorms in New York in winter and droughts in the southwest in summer. Maybe we could have a monthly "climate policy" meeting much like the Federal Reserve Policy meetings that determine interest rates, only they'd decide what's best for the global environment for the coming 6 months. That's about as likely to happen as mankind controlling the earth's natural climate changes. By the way, ask a Kyoto protocol supporter how much difference mankind would make if every nation in the world signed on and abided by the rules - it's one tenth on one degree Celsius. Kyoto is designed to transfer wealth from richer countries to poorer countries vis-a-vie pollution credits. Many years down the road, what it really does is turn third world countries into richer countries that will, ironically, develop industrial capabilities to complete with the richer (and now poorer) nations, resulting in....you guessed it..more pollution. Mankind has a responsibility to protect and utilize the earth's resources responsibly, but our Creator has blessed us with the intelligence to know what we can control and what we can't control. Current efforts to control pollution represent a great stride from the beginning of the industrial revolution, but we must be careful to strike a fair balance between managing our resources and "saving the planet" at the expense of mankind. Taken to it's extreme, when will we say "There are too many people creating too much pollution for this earth to support - somebody must go!"?
Posted By Anonymous Baron Fink, Huntersville, NC : 6:38 PM ET
Humankind has proved itself unique in one preeminent respect--we are the only species willing to destroy itself for the benefit of other species. My high school biology teacher used to rant all the time about human overpopulation. One day we finally asked what she thought the ideal population should be? She said "2 million!" I know she thought she should be one of the chosen few, but I have always wondered what she planned to do with the rest of us.

I am all in favor of being a responsible part of the greater world ecosystem, but I am not going to eliminate myself voluntarily. In the competitive world, nature does not smile kindly on those who do not strive to survive. All populations grow without restraint until overpopulation is reversed by famine, pestilence, disease, and (in the case of humanity) war. The question is who will survive to pass their genes on into the next cycle. I am working to be a winner in that game.

Everyone is entitled to eliminate themselves from the competition, but I don't plan to let anyone else eliminate me. If global warming is the result of human growth, then it is one more element in the eventual limit in carrying capacity. Do I care? No, my objective is to survive and promote the interests of my progeny.

All the proposals for dealing with global warming and other ecological problems basically amount to the rich trying to eliminate the poor so they can enjoy the world for themselves. Maybe my biology teacher was right about the ideal population of the world, but unless I am one of the winners, I plan to fight to stay. I don't support anything that is calculated to eliminate me.

Yeah, its obvious from all my use of the E-word that I have figured out what the game really all about: eliminating the undesireables. Of course, if I were one of the rich elites, I would be espousing an entirely different point of view...
Posted By Anonymous David, Dallas, TX : 6:46 PM ET
To say that there is a "lively debate" about global warming is ridiculous. It plays into George Bush's fantasy that there's no real scientific proof that carbon emissions are causing the earth to warm. But what would you expect from the Cheney News Network?

Robert Hofler, Los Angeles
Posted By Anonymous Robert Hofler, Los Angeles, CA : 6:49 PM ET
Let's face it, in the last 200 years, (which in geologic time is a blink of the eye), or so the human population of this planet has caused great damage, through pollution, overpopulation, industrialization, greed and stupidity. The earth will recover, but not before wiping our sorry butts out of existence. We have the brainpower to reverse much of these problems, but we better start soon.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Longmont CO : 6:53 PM ET
How can you actually report that there is still a lively debate regarding the cause of global warming?

At present, the US pumps over 2 billion tons of CO2 into the air every year. Enough to fill a freight train with greenhouse causing pollutants that stretches around the planet 17 times. Enough already with the obfuscation. Enough with the futily pale efforts to invest in alternative energy (Bush's recent announcement of $388M in new funding brings total US funding for alternative energy investment to the equivalent of a SINGLE DAY'S addition to the US national debt).

Stop pretending to report news and start actually reporting it. Or better yet, simply take the high road and reclassify your show as entertainment because given your penchant for foolishness, you're actually funnier than Jon Stewart.
Posted By Anonymous John Kaczmarowski, Milwaukee, WI : 6:55 PM ET
We have been experiencing global warming for a long long time - ever since the Ice Age. Why worry now?
Posted By Anonymous Terri Baur, Brillion, Wi : 7:04 PM ET
The problem here is that too many people want to be experts, so they spend way too much time and way too much money studying something that is painfully obvious to anyone with a good degree of common sense. The earth's climate has been changing ever so slowly FOREVER. To think that we humans can make an impact in that cycle is just vain. Believe it or not, humans aren't the center of everything, like so many of us like to believe.

Having said that, I personally don't believe that there is anything we as a race can do about global warming except to prepare for it. We need to accept that this is the way earth's climate is going and we need to be ready. This means not building cities below the sea level, especially those that have already been destroyed (as mentioned above). All of the experts should stop wasting their time trying to figure this out and spend it trying to find ways that we can prepare ourselves for what is clearly inevitable.
Posted By Anonymous Jack, Chicago, IL : 7:11 PM ET
It's pretty funny to read all of these posts and see how fired up everyone gets over this. Based on everything I've been reading the last few weeks, I think it's obvious...Barry Bonds is clearly responsible for global warming!! When are we going to put a stop to his irresponsibility? Haha...
Posted By Anonymous Jack, Chicago, IL : 7:25 PM ET
First of all I hate pollution. Gary Indiana and all the rest of the places that have these chimneys that emit horrific nature damaging smoke should be banished from the face of the earth. I know pollution can damage trees, fish, animals as well as humans.

But to say that the Earth's climate is change ONLY because of our pollution is ludicris. 1) there is more ocean than land mass on earth 2) the amount of cities that spew polutuion are not that many..there is more rural land than industrialized land in other words 3) meterites and volcanos which are natural inflict more damage on the atmosphere 3) the Earth is about 2 billion years old. and we have been studying the climate how long for about 200 years???. ther have been numerous coolings and heating periods on the earth. there is no way to determine that we are the sole cause of it.


Though I think we are a small percentage of the cause We should 1. tear down the pollution factories. 2. make urban properties cheap and rural properties more expensive to deter urban sprawl 3.use corn byproducts and fuel cells for fuel.
Posted By Anonymous C.E. Chicago, Il : 7:44 PM ET
I have lived in Anchorage for approximately 13 years. This includes three years in Fairbanks. A common topic among residents is the noticable changes in the weather. This year, the roads that were iced over have melted and refroze several times causing chaos on main roads throughout Alaska. Where I once was cautious to 'bundle up' before going outside, I can sometimes get away with wearing a light jacket in the middle of winter. No one knows this topic better than those who have lived here for many years...
Posted By Anonymous Frank, Anchorage AK : 7:46 PM ET
As Thor Heyerdahl's step son, who saw oil clots in the middle of the Pacific on his late 1940's Kon-Tiki expedition, on a sailing balsa wood raft in the 1940's and went on to win the Academy Award for documentary in, I believe 1950, realised the global problem in the continued use of hydrocarbons to create the modern industrialised world. Jaques Cousteau reiterated, tangetially, the problem of the burgeoning population and its use of hydrocarbons, as the detriment to our species and our felow flora and fauna, through this continuation of the use of fossil fuels, in his last televised interview, before his death.

As a scion to Standard Oil, through my family's creation of a company which created the modern industrial civilisation, I feel mindful of what my ancestors created. It has been the biggest single source of our development into what is the modern world, but is also in fact "killing" us slowly. To give a "laundry list" of the products, that Standard facillitated in helping create almost every aspect of the material modern world is so immense, that one could identify from Vaseline to the plastic of the computer I write this email from.

The "cat is out of the bag" so to speak, as to cease and desist the use of the initial Standard Oil's generations of products since the first use of oil, but we need to find a way for alternative souces of what hydrocarbons provide.

Every dominating species preceeding us on Earth has come to it's demise. I hope we stem the "tide of destruction", from the use of hydrocarbons, as since the beginning of the use of hydrocarbons, humans have exponentially eroded our environment of our Mother Earth, which sustains our lives, with no other place for us to exist as a species.
Posted By Anonymous Stillman Rockefeller, New York, NY : 8:00 PM ET
I find it hilarious when people state with absolute certainty that a "scientific debate is over" as is suggested by many of the comments above. There is strong evidence that man has hastened global warming. Recent studies show that man's impact can be measured starting about 8,000 years ago. There is also irrefutable evidence that earth goes through cycles of climate change without any help or hinderance from man. What is pure conjecture is the impact of man's actions on this process, whether those impacts are negative or positive and whether the current swing toward a warmer planet would have happened anyway even if there had been no intervention from man. Its just a sexier headline for the "chicken little liberals" to squawk that big business is causing the end of the world.
Posted By Anonymous Geoffrey Willis, Mission Viejo CA : 8:08 PM ET
Having worked for an international organization for nature conservation, I have been so frustrated on how ignorant many people (including politicians and decision makers) on how important nature conservation (including efforts to mitigate the effect of global warming).

It's time to wake up. Media play a very important role in increasing people's awareness. So, it's time for AC360 to cover environmental issues more. Believe me, they are HOT!

Go on Anderson, challenge your journalism paradigm and shift it toward a more 'environmentally friendly' one.
Posted By Anonymous Georgiana, Spring, TX : 8:13 PM ET
Do we really have to prove conclusively that global warming is happening, in order to take preventative action? Why is the default assumption that all the stuff we're pumping into the atmosphere is safe? If this was a combat situation and we didn't know where the enemy was, we'd assume the worst and plan accordingly. Doesn't it seem absurd to look into the face of unknown consequences of CO2 and other pollution, and assume everything is going to be fine? Especially when there is nontrivial evidence to the contrary... Some things can't be fixed after they're broken. In my book, the burden of proof is on those who are polluting. The real question in my mind however isn't whether global warming is happening, but whether there is a realistic prospect of stopping it as China's and India's economies grow to be ten times their current size, and several times larger than our own, over the next 30 years.
Posted By Anonymous Eric R., Corvallis, OR : 8:20 PM ET
The main problem to look at is the use of fossil fuels in vehicles, we all know, or at least we should all know that the output of a vehicle is carbon monoxide, whic has been proven time and time again to be a killer when contained in a small place. It's the same way with the earth except for on a larger scale. Eventually with the millions upon millions of vehicles releasing this toxin into the atmosphere will cause the same effect as being in a garage and allowing the car to run without ventilation. Since the earth cannot be ventilated these gases interact with the atmosphere slwoly causing the ozone, the layer that protects the earth from the radiation of the sun, to diminish which once gone the earth and everything on her will be cooked, just like a piece of fish in a microwave. The main problem though with bringing about change through the use of non-fossil fuels like hydrogen and electric cars is the fact that those at the top of the oil industry really could care less about what will happen in the future due to their exploits now, all they care about is how mush they can line their pockets with now, but when we have a new form of a vehicle that is environmentally sound it will only be crushed by the fat cats who sit on their piles of money like a dragon. The time is now to look at the future and to make sure that there is one. Not to live in a world where we will all have to wear masks because of some fat cat wanted more in their pockets.
Posted By Anonymous Dwight, Columbus, Oh : 8:21 PM ET
Thank you for coming to Alaska and talking to Alaska Natives and getting their opinion about this issue. We are the people who live here in this State and this is where our ancestors came from. I applaud you for including Alaska's indigenous people.
Posted By Anonymous Billie (an Inupiaq Eskimo); Fairbanks, Alaska : 8:35 PM ET
Baron Fink hit it right on the head. It's worth noting that the same people/groups that are now screaming about global warming were screaming a different tune in the late 70's early 80's. Their solution to the climate devastating "global cooling" at the time was to cover a huge swath of arctic glacier (the same ones they say we are melting now) with soot to promote the absorbtion of heat...and cause them to melt. If we had leapt into action then, I wonder where we would be now? So you'll excuse me for not leaping to follow the admonitions (more political than scientific, really) of these people. These are the same people who told us hydroflourocarbons were creating the hole in the ozone layer. Remember that? Or have we already, rightly, forgotten the last "doomsday" scenario they gave us? Those are some of the heaviest gasses known to man and couldn't reach the ozone layer if they were sucked up into a Cat. 5 tornado.
It's also worth noting that not one of the countries that signed Kyoto has had any success at meeting the goals. Signing something doesn't change anything.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Miller, Medford, NJ : 8:39 PM ET
As humans we, I dont think that we can accept change. We are willing to pay for high gas prices, but the stakes for that are a deteriorating atmosphere and air pollution. If we could accept change we could find alternate energy and air healthy sources. We are also ignorant. We are out fighting wars in other countries, when the real war is being fought in our own backyards with air pollution and greenhouse gasses. When too much carbon dioxide mixes with the other gasses in the atmosphere, it creates a rift in the atmosphere, also causing the polar ice caps to melt. THis causes the world's water level to increase. Us, as the human race have to realize this. Wake up and smell the coffee everyone! If ists and wars dont kill us, The melting of the polar ice caps, and the flooding of the world will.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Downingtown PA : 8:42 PM ET
I liked the comment posted by one of
you guys:
There is no debate, mankind has a long history of doing what is good in the short-term with absolutely no regard for its long term consequences.
--
Even if we are not certain about
global warming why cant we err on the
side of caution?
Posted By Anonymous Jay Swaminathan, San jose, CA : 8:44 PM ET
What ""lively debate over whether global warming is the result of burning fossil fuels..."?????? Politicians may "debate" but scientists do not.
Posted By Anonymous Linda Brewer, Ewa Beach, HI : 8:49 PM ET
The real danger here is that, given the feedback systems which we are just now beginning to understand, the rate of increase in our plants average temperature may follow a logarithmic progression rather than a linear one. If this proves to be true, then even the worst case scenarios are grossly underestimating the potential impact of this change on the ecosystems of our planet.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel Qualkinbush, Indianapolis, Indiana : 9:06 PM ET
Yes the climate is warming. And yes, what we do may be contributing to the rate at which it warms. But maybe it is also the normal long term cyclical nature of the eons. Yet that should not stop us from attempting to conserve resources and reduce unnecessary pollution of our environment. Let's not forget that the cities of Europe had worse smog during the industrial revolution than do our cities today, simply from burning wood to heat, cook, forge, and produce. We have advanced, let's use that knowledge intelligently regardless of ludicrous arguments about whether global warming exists or not. We really won't know, none of us will live long enough to see the results. But our descendents should.
Posted By Anonymous Alan Catonsville, Md. : 9:37 PM ET
With gas prices increasing significantly just as global warming becomes the next big topic, it's time to kill 2 birds with one stone and move into the next phase of energy development and away from our addiction to oil.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Columbus OH : 4:19 PM ET
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