On the 9th November 2016, President Elect Donald Trump won the USA election and Secretary Hillary Clinton stepped aside. In January 2017 Mr Trump will replace President Obama and take up residence in the White House. In the last few days of the presidential race, Mr Trump repeated his disbelief in global-warming or climate-change and vowed to (1) abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and (2) scrap America’s promises to restrict fossil fuels, made in the recent Paris Accord.
Mr Trump has long been a global-warming sceptic, along with ex-Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. This shock announcement comes less than two weeks after some 600 climate scientists announced that the global warming gas, carbon dioxide, released mainly from burning coal and oil products, has reached the tipping point of 400 parts per million in our upper atmosphere. The increase of global-warming gases is demonstrated in this week’s newsreels of UK Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May, who visited New Delhi, India, to negotiate new, Brexit trade deals; she was filmed shrouded in heavy smog – from Indian factories and vehicles. The people of India are being poisoned at street level by exhaust fumes. (n.b. Oxford Street, London is “the most polluted street in the world”. It is where shopaholics go to die.)
These fumes rise into the upper atmosphere where molecules of carbon-dioxide, CO2, and of other gases, allow in sunlight but reflect heat rising from the Earth’s surface (infrared waves) back into our atmosphere. This is the “glass ceiling” or greenhouse that since about 1850 has increased the Earth’s average temperature by 1C, as stated by the UK’s Royal Society panel in October 2016. The Paris Accord is an agreement to limit the temperature increase to 2C. My notes from The Royal Society public meeting indicate how serious the temperature rise is and how it threatens the human race.
Trump has pledged, for good social reasons, to re-open America’s coal mines and to burn coal, oil and gas, to re-create jobs in The Rust Belt – that have been lost to progress. But if he does this, it will take us beyond 400 parts per million (PPM) of CO2 and average temperatures will inevitably rise by +3C or +4C. The extra heat warms the air and the oceans. As we all know, warmer seas fuel fiercer typhoons, hurricanes and tornadoes, which can do great damage – such as has occurred in New York and New Orleans. The EPA monitors and tries to limit such catastrophic events. However, this destructive Global-Warming is not inevitable.
World-wide intelligent co-operation has largely fixed the Hole in the Ozone Layer. You may recall that very complex gases, CFCs, used in refrigerators and similar machines, eventually escaped from their piping, rose into the upper atmosphere and collected at the Poles – over the Arctic and Antarctic. These gases did the opposite to CO2; they created a hole in the protective Ozone gas, O3, which blocks dangerous rays from the sun.
(Wikipedia Jump to Antarctic ozone hole – Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other halogenated ozone depleting substances (ODS) are mainly responsible for man-made chemical ozone depletion. The total amount of effective halogens (chlorine and bromine) in the stratosphere can be calculated and are known as the equivalent effective stratospheric chlorine (EESC).)
We need the ozone-layer. It protects the planet and all life.
The ozone hole admitted radiation which damaged or killed animals, including humans. Manufacturing CFCs was a major industry in many countries, so it required a planetary agreement to end production and to replace CFCs. This agreement, The Montreal Protocol, was signed by 194 countries in 1993. The Ozone Hole is now almost fully healed, and the Earth is protected again.
In my opinion, it is too late to reverse global-warming. The extra heat has already been absorbed into the oceans. Therefore the polar-ice-caps are melting and meltdown will rapidly accelerate. CO2 lasts for hundreds of years in the upper atmosphere. We can however, avoid runaway global heating – which would be catastrophic.
What President Elect Trump and other world leaders can do is to agree to cap and to limit the pace of global warming and to prepare the world for significant sea-level-rise (SLR) and an increase in severe weather events. My opinion is that meltdown is happening far faster than any published forecasts – so new infrastructure should be located on higher ground. Cities such as London and New York need to create amphibious facilities. This is not difficult; marine engineering is well understood and widely applied. My book Out of the Depths (pictured) is a novel that tracks the advance of sea-level-rise and the survival tactics of the survivors. It could propel individuals and governments into action-this-day.
Go to it Mr. President. And do not close the EPA – your country needs the EPA science.