Thursday, March 15, 2007

And one more thing about the environment...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:15 AM Permalink

The Ozone hole. It's getting bigger.
Excerpt: Covering 10 miles above the South Pole is a sprawling patch of stratosphere with disturbingly low levels of radiation-absorbing ozone. The size of the hole (pictured in dark blue) wanes and waxes due to seasonal changes in temperature and shifting levels of ozone-depleting pollutants. In early October 2006, the Antarctic stratosphere was the coldest it has been since 1979, and the ozone hole loomed bigger than ever, spanning an area larger than North America. What's going on?
The Montreal Protocol was set up to deal with the emissions of chemicals that caused the hole to begin with. While it was effective in getting countries to agree to decrease the amount of CFCs they emit into the atmosphere, industry and corporations would only agree to it AFTER they had come up with a suitable substitute that they could sell/use instead. And it's not been entirely proven that the new stuff is any better than the old stuff.

The problem with these international regimes is that, though their goals are laudable, they are usually hugely ineffective. You basically get a bunch of different representatives in there with competing interests, add corporations into that mix and what you get is a protocol that is so watered down that it's nearly useless. The whole thing has to appeal to the lowest common denominator... and well, we've seen what happens when that method is applied to our entertainment media (read: American Idol)

Some of the environmental regimes have been mildly effective at altering behavior. But improving the problem they were created to address? Not so much. Look at the Kyoto protocol. Even if everyone signed on AND agreed to ALL of it, it wouldn't reduce CO2 emissions for years and by they time THAT happened, it will probably be too late anyway. Anyone who's ever looked into it agrees: It's all window dressing.

I don't know what the solution is. I certainly don't advocate NOT participating in these things. Just on a social responsibility level, it's important. BUT, the real problem with all of these regimes and their protocols is this: the bottom line is always money, profit, and economy. As long as those things are major component of any discussion about anything, whether it be about Carbon emissions, or CFC emissions, or even cluster bombs and nuclear warheads, as long as the bottom line is about money, the real reason these regimes are created in the first place -- to protect the earth and its peoples -- will never be addressed or resolved.


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