Greenhouse gas emissions

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Protect photosynthesis: less CO2 , more Oxygen and better health for all of us. Protection of the global life-support systems Climate change prelude Climate change: responsibility and accountability of cities

Automobile exhausts, coal-burning power plant, factory smokestacks, and other waste vents of the industrial age now pump seven billion metric tons of CO2 greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere each year from fossil fuel combustion. Combustion of fossil fuels destroys the O2 of our air. For each 100 atoms of fossil-fuel carbon burned, about 140 molecules of O2 are consumed. Other factors put our Oxygen supply at risk. Losses of biomass through deforestation and the cutting down of tropical forests put our supply of oxygen (O2 ) gas at risk. The Earth's forests did not use to play a dominant role in maintaining O2 reserves because they consume just as much of this gas as they produce. Today forests are being destroy at an astronomical rate. No O2 is created after a forest is put down, and more CO2 is produced in the process.

The basic raw materials for plastic are oil and/or natural gas. Plastic, an all-around product the cause of wars and of a global environmental and social nightmare. At the moment, there are more than 10,000 different kinds of plastics. We are extracting and destroying the Earth to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes. In 25 years, after running out of oil and natural gas to make plastics, big corporations will be involved in agricultural strip mining for making biomass for plastics or alcohol fuels. Plastics made from potatoes and eggplants. They would degrade further the land that is already losing topsoil. The biological breakdown of vegetable plastics releases carbon dioxide and methane, heat-trapping greenhouse gases that international efforts currently aim to reduce. Production of plastic from plants will inevitably emit more greenhouse gases than do many of its petrochemical counterparts. But the bigger question is, don't people need to eat the potatoes and eggplants we can grow? The land needs to be used for other essential purposes, rather than growing plastic parts for unnecessary motor vehicles or kitchen equipment, for example. World population will have risen to ten billion people at that time. You have the choice to starve more than half the population or make plastics.

There is evidence that concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are related to global temperatures. Evidence is from a variety of sources and reflects relationships between gas concentrations and temperatures over a wide range of time scales. Whenever there is an increase in CO2 concentrations there is also an increase in the temperature of the air and in global precipitation.

Since monitoring began in the 50s, fossil fuels burning was found to be the major contributor of the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and, therefore, of the increase in air temperature causing global warming of the planet. Concentrations have increased approximately 21% since 1958. The average rate of increase since 1958 has been about 0.4%/year, which is an absolute increase of about 1.5 parts per million by volume (ppmv). In year 2005, the predicted value will be 402 ppmv. CO2 persists for a long time in the atmosphere and has a residence time in the order of decades to a century.

While Canada contributes only about 2% of total global GHG emissions, it is one of the highest per capita emitters, largely the result of its size, climate (i.e., energy demands), and resource based economy. In 1990, Canadians released 21.9 t CO2 eq of GHGs per capita. Over the 11-year period from 1990 to 2001, this has increased to 23.1 t CO2 eq of GHGs per capita.

Carbon Dioxide is, by far, the largest contributor to Canada's GHG emissions. CO2 has only changed in proportion from 77.7% of emissions in 1990 to 78.9% in 2001.

The use of fossil fuels in transportation, industry, heating and power generation throughout the world has increased steadily over the past 40 years. This has resulted in increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased at the same rate as the overall world economic production, measured by the Gross World Product (GWP). The GWP reflects the increase in worldwide industrialization and human population levels.

CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been measured at an altitude of about 4,000 meters on the peak of Mauna Loa mountain in Hawaii since 1958. The measurements at this location, remote from local sources of pollution, have clearly shown that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are increasing. The mean concentration of approximately 316 parts per million by volume (ppmv) in 1958 rose to approximately 369 ppmv in 1998. The annual variation is due to CO2 uptake by growing plants. The uptake is highest in the northern hemisphere springtime.

What is the inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks?

The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks is a catalogue of anthropogenic, or human-generated, greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Carbon dioxide can also be sequestered (i.e., stored) in “sinks” that result from forestry and other land-use practices. Excluding all naturally occurring greenhouse gas emissions and sinks, the Inventory provides a detailed record of all emissions and sinks directly attributable to human activities. It does not address naturally occurring emissions or sinks.

Per capita, the US will still be by far the largest polluter on the planet. In year 2005, the US will be emitting 8.130 trillion kilogram of CO2 per year. Worldwide the total emissions will be 30.0 trillion kilograms of CO2. That is the US will be emitting 8.130 / 30.0 x 100% = 27.1 % of the total CO2 emissions. Now that the US is manufacturing cars in China we will see a larger increase of pollution due to the US technology being sold abroad.

Over its long past history trade has never evolved to require from the trading partners to become legally and morally responsible and accountable for their products from beginning to end. At the end the product becomes a waste and it needs to be properly dispose of. Now trade must be given a new impetus to be in line with the global concepts of the Global Community. You manufacture, produce, mine, farm or create a product, you become legally and morally responsible and accountable of your product from beginning to end (to the point where it actually becomes a waste; you are also responsible for the proper disposable of the waste). This product may be anything and everything from oil & gas, weapons, war products, to genetically engineered food products. All consumer products. All medicinal products! All pharmaceutical products!

Applying this new way of doing business would make the US responsible and accountable of the CO2 pollution created by the car manufacturers in China (and in all othe nations) that use US technology and 'know how'. Carbon emissions coming from a car built in China using US technology and 'know how' are to be added to the US carbon emissions. We estimate that the emissions due to these new cars will create 0.20 trillion kg of CO2 to the atmosphere.

In year 2005
China alone:
4.6276 - 0.20 = 4.4276 trillion kg of CO2 per year
United States:
8.130 + 0.20 = 8.330 trillion kg of CO2 per year

The new way of doing business within the Global Community makes the US by far the worst polluters on the planet.

This makes a lot of sense! You raise a chicken on your land. You want to make sure that by the time your export your chicken to another country it has no disease and is not going to make people sick or kill them. Same idea with exporting technology and know how such as the manufacturing of US cars in China and the pollution that goes along with it destroying the global life-support systems. It is your product and you are responsible and accountable of it. That is the new way of doing business within the Global Community.

The worst polluters on the planet
NationYear 2000
total fuel combustion
(trillion kg)
Year 2000
total fuel combustion
(Tg CO2 Eq)
Year 2000
metric ton CO2
per person per year
United States

The worst polluters on the planet in year 2005
NationYear 2005
metric ton CO2
per person per year
Year 2005
Year 2005
total fuel combustion
(Tg CO2 Eq)
Year 2005
total fuel combustion
(trillion kg)
United States
Total worldwide
33% of the world population contributes to 63% of CO2 pollution

Sample of calculations

Per capita greenhouse gas emissions due to total fossil fuel combustion in the US in year 2005:
8130.0 TgCO2Eq = Gg of gas x GWP x Tg / 1000Gg = Gg of gas x 1 x Tg / 1000Gg

Gg of gas = 8130 TgCO2Eq x 1000Gg/Tg = 8130 x 103 Gg CO2 =
= 8130 x 103 Gg CO2 x 109 gm/Gg =
= 8130 x 1012 gm CO2 x 1 kg/1000 gm =
= 8.130 x 1012 kg CO2 = 8.130 trillion kg of CO2 =
= 8.130 x 1012 kg CO2 x 1 metric ton / 1000 kg =
= 8.130 x 109 metric ton CO2

Per capita CO2 emissions in the US in year 2005:
8.130 x 109 metric ton CO2 / 300,000,000 = 27.1 metric tons CO2 per person per year


1 kg = 2.205 pounds = 10-3 metric tons
i inch cube = 0.016387 liter = 16.387cm3
1 pound = 0.45359 kg
1 short ton = 2000 pounds = 0.9072 metric tons
1 m3 = 103 liters = 35.3145 ft3
1 liter = 10-3 m3
1 ft3 = 0.02832 3 = 1728 inch3
1 US gallon = 3.785412 liters
1 barrel (bbl) = 0.159 m3 = 42 US gallons = 158.99 liters
1 meter = 3.28 ft = 39.37 inches
1 acre = 43560 ft2 = 0.4047 hectares = 4047 m2
1 tera (T) = 1012
1 gega (G) = 109
1 mega (M) = 106
1 peta (P) = 1015
1 Gg = 1 Gigagrams = 109 grams = 1 billion grams = 106 kg = 1000 metric tons
1 Tg = 1 Teragrams = 1000 Gg
1 QBTUs = one quadrillion Btus = 1015 Btus = one Quad Btus
Tg CO2Eq = Teragrams of CO2 equiuvalent
1 TJ = 1 Terajoule = 1012 joules = 1 trillion joules = 2.388 x 1011 calories =
= 23.58 metric tons of crude oil equivalent =
= 947.8 million Btus =
= 277,800 kilowatt-hours
motor gasoline
1 metric ton = 8.53 barrels = 1,356.16 liters

We could calculate the effect of the invasion of Iraq by Americans.

Iraqi oil production can be as much as 3.7 million barrels/day or 1.35 billion barrels/year. The US has taken away this oil from the Iraqi people to feed its own economy back home and the war industry (approximately 50 million Americans live off the war industry).

1.35 billion barrels x 123 kg/barrel = 0.246 trillion kg CO2 / year

Counting 4 years of invasion yield 0.984 trillion kg CO2 / year to be added to the US total of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions:

8.130 trillion CO2 emissions + 0.984 trillion = 9.114 trillion CO2 emissions in year 2005

This shows that the act of plundering Irak of its resources include its gas emissions as well. Makes a lot of sense!

Iraq contains 115 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves along with 100 billion barrels in probable reserves. That will add quite a large amount of CO2 emissions due to the America alone. We should also add the carbon emissions and greenhouse effect that will be created by the burning of the Iraqi natural gas. Iraq contains 110 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, along with roughly 150 Tcf in probable reserves. Iraq can possibly peak to a production of 700 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year. Now if anyone has any doubt about why Americans have invaded Iraq...

We could also calculate the amount of CO2 emissions due to gasoline alone and the heat produced during the emissions; this heat also increases the temperature of air around the world and adds to the warming of the planet along with the 'greenhouse effect'.

In year 2005 there will be 30 billion barrels of oil produced around the world.

1 barrel of oil = 42 US gallons of oil = 42 gal x 3.785412 liters/gal =
= 158.9873 liters = 0.1589873 m3
1 barrel of Arabian Light crude oil = 0.136 short ton = 0.123 metric ton =
= 123 kg = 0.158987 m3 = 158.99 liters
1 kg = 1/123 x 0.158987 m3 x 103 liter/m3 = 1.2926 liters
30 billion x 123 kg = 3.690 trillion kg of oil / year

The typical weight of gasoline at 72 degrees F is around 6.25 lb/gal.
30 billion barrels of oil x 42 gal/barrel x 6.25 lb/gal x 0.45359 kg/lb =
= 3.572 trillion kg of gasoline burned every year.
For normal heptane C7H16 with a molecular weight = 100.204

C7H16 + 11 O2     ---------     7CO2 + 8H2O

thus 1.000 kg of C7H16 requires 3.513 kg of O2 = 15.179 kg of air.

Calculation of the total weight of O2 used to burn all the crude oil in the world if it was converted to gasoline.

3.572 trillion kg x 3.513 kg of O2 = 12.5 trillion kg of O2 burned / year.

Expressing this result in liters:

12.5 trillion kg x 1.293 liter/kg = 16.16 trillion liters of O2 burned / year
16.16 trillion liters x 10-3 m3 /liter = 0.01616 trillion m3O2 burned / year
Heat given up by gasoline:
3.572 trillion kg of gasoline x 43 megajoule/kg =
153.6 trillion megajoules per year = 153.6 x 1012 x 106 joules/year
= 153.6 x 106 Tj/year = 153.6 x 106 x 947.8 million Btus
= 153.6 x 947.8 x 1012 Btus = 145,582 x 1012 Btus
= 145,582 TeraBtus = 145.582 PetaBtus = 145.582 PBtus
= 153.6 x 106 x 277,800 kilowatt-hours = 42.67 Tera kilowatt-hours

These are different ways to express the heat released to the atmosphere by the combustion of gasoline alone. Thus the heating of our atmosphere is not a fake of our imagination. Other calculations such as the greenhouse effect due to CO2 acting as a greenhouse gas keeping the infrared radiation from escaping into space can be found on the website of the Global Community.

Now there are many other ways we have discovered to choke the air we breathe. Automobile exhausts, coal-burning power plant, factory smokestacks, and other waste vents of the industrial age now pump seven billion metric tons of CO2 greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere each year from fossil fuel combustion. Combustion of fossil fuels destroys the O2 of our air. For each 100 atoms of fossil-fuel carbon burned, about 140 molecules of O2 are consumed. Other factors put our Oxygen supply at risk.

Losses of biomass through deforestation and the cutting down of tropical forests put our supply of oxygen (O2 ) gas at risk. The Earth's forests did not use to play a dominant role in maintaining O2 reserves because they consume just as much of this gas as they produce. Today forests are being destroy at an astronomical rate. No O2 is created after a forest is put down, and more CO2 is produced in the process. In the tropics, ants, termites, bacteria, and fungi eat nearly the entire photosynthetic O2 product. Only a tiny fraction of the organic matter they produce accumulates in swamps and soils or is carried down the rivers for burial on the sea floor. The O2 content of our atmosphere is slowly declining. The content of the atmosphere decreased at an average annual rate of 2 parts per million. The atmosphere contains 210,000 parts per million.

In the Earth's Atmosphere, the volume % of O2 in dry air is 20.98, in order words the abundance percent by volume is 20.98%, or again the abundance parts per million by volume is 209,800. The weight % of O2 at surface level is 23.139%. We are concerned here with the troposphere. We can calculate the volume of the troposphere. The equatorial diameter of the Earth is 12,756.3 km, the radius is therefore 6378.15 km. The troposphere is the atmospheric layer closest to the planet and contains the largest percentage of the mass of the total atmosphere. It is characterized by the density of its air and an average temperature decrease with height. The troposphere starts at the Earth's surface extending at most 16 km high. The troposphere is this part of the atmosphere that is the most dense and which contains approximately 80% of the total air mass. As you climb higher in this layer, the temperature drops from about 17 to -52 degrees Celsius. The air pressure at the top of the troposphere is only 10% of that at sea level (0.1 atmospheres). The density of air at sea level is about 1.2 kilograms per cubic meter. This density decreases at higher altitudes at approximately the same rate that pressure decreases (but not quite as fast). The total mass of the atmosphere is about 5.1 × 1018 kg, a tiny fraction of the earth's total mass.

Volume of the Earth. 4 x ¶(6378.15)3 /3 = 10.8687 x 1020 m3
Radius from the centre of the Earth to the top of the troposphere:
= 6378.15 + 16 = 6394.15 km
Volume to the top of the troposphere.
4 x ¶(6394.15)3 /3 = 10.9506 x 1020 m3
Volume of the troposphere.
[10.9506 - 10.8687 ] x1020 m3 = 8.14 x 1018 m3 Total mass of the troposphere.
Assuming the density of the air is constant throughout the volume (the density is not constant as it decreases rapidly with height; it is 1.225 kg/m3 on the Earth’s surface and 0.1654 kg/m3 at the top of the troposphere, 16 km):

[1.225 kg/m3 ] x 8.14 x 1018 m3 = 9.97 x1018 kg of air in the atmosphere
[0.1654 kg/m3 ] x 8.14 x 1018 m3 = 1.346 x1018 kg
Take an average: [9.97 - 1.346 ] x1018 kg / 2 = 4.31 x1018 kg of air.
The mass of the O2 is found knowing that the weight % of O2 at surface level is 23.139% (but there again this value can hardly be used for the entire volume as the weight % changes with height).

[4.31 x1018 kg] x 23.139/100 = 1.0 x1018 kg O2
Mass of O2 in the troposphere = 1.0 x1018 kg

Now it was obtained above here that there are 12.5 trillion kg of O2 burned / year. Assuming that the combustion of gasoline could go on forever, the number of years before we run out of O2 can be calculated.

[1.0 x1018 kg] / 12.5 x 1012 kg/year = 80,000 years

If the combustion rate of 5 billion gallons of gasoline per year was to go on forever, it would take 80,000 years before we run out of O2. Of course, this value should be corrected to include all other forms where O2 is lost or burned.

These calculations are obviously not right as they do not take into account several factors that change with height. More importantly, these calculations do not reflect the impact of the combustion CO2 on the atmosphere and impact on the climate. Certainly the losses of biomass through deforestation and the cutting down of tropical forests should be included. A rough estimate is more in the range of one thousand years at the most. Even one thousand years is wrong as life on Earth will hardly survive the kind of climate change humanity has already started with the burning of O2 and deforestation. It is wrong because the burning of fossil fuels(same thing as saying the burning of O2 to produce CO2) is creating a global warming of the planet which in turn forces the climate to change. The climate change has already started and is likely to be tough on us and all life within a few decades.

In any way the total estimated resources of oil, coal, and natural gas will run out in less than a hundred years. We will run out of fossil fuels in about 60 years down the road. The following figure expresses the abundance of Oxygen in the air over time.

A bad situation will occur when several cities close to one another have no forests West of them to photosynthesize the Oxygen people need. The air will not have the time to replenish itself quickly enough and air mixing will not be happening fast enough. People gradually become ill and die of a lack of Oxygen.

Despite its small concentration, CO2 is a very important component of Earth's atmosphere, because it traps infrared radiation and enhances the greenhouse effect of water vapor, thus keeping the Earth from cooling down. The initial carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the young Earth was produced by volcanic activity; this was necessary for a warm and stable climate conducive to life. Volcanic activity now releases about 145-255 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. Volcanic releases are about 1% the amount which is released by human activities. Atmospheric CO2 has increased about 30 percent since the early 1800s, with an estimated increase of 17 percent since 1958 (burning fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum is the leading cause of increased man-made CO2 , deforestation the second major cause).

Global warming findings predict that increased amounts of CO2 tend to increase the greenhouse effect and thus cause a man-made global warming. The widespread opinion that there is currently a warming phase and that the increased carbon dioxide amounts are a major contributor to it has led to widespread support for international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol which aim to regulate the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Various scenarios of future emissions due to human activities predict that increased atmospheric concentrations equivalent to a doubling of CO2 by 2100 is unavoidable, and a tripling or greater by that time is a distinct possibility.

The magnitude of the natural greenhouse effect can be determined by observations of the atmosphere's radiation balance and surface temperatures, and is currently estimated to warm the planetary surface by about 33°C. Both the atmospheric concentrations and current anthropogenic emissions of other greenhouse gases are orders of magnitude smaller than that of carbon dioxide. However, per unit of emission, these gases have a much larger climatic effect than carbon dioxide. Each kg of CFCs and fully fluorinated compound emitted today, for example, can have an accumulated global warming potential (GWP) over the next century many thousands times greater than that of a kg of CO2. To-date, global increases in concentrations of methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, CFCs and other minor gases have added about 70% to the climatic effects of CO2 increases alone. Continued emissions of these gases in the future will significantly advance the timing of climate forcing equivalent to a doubling of CO2, perhaps before 2050.

In addition to CO2, there are other trace greenhouse gases that are causing the greenhouse effect. These other greenhouses gases (not including CO2 and water vapour) contribute collectively about the same amount of warming as does CO2! Recently, the concentration of many of them has been increasing as rapidly or more rapidly than that of CO2 (which has been increasing at about 0.4%/yr).

Methane (CH4) is another very important greenhouse gas. While it is present in lower concentrations in the atmosphere than CO2(about 1.7 ppmv vs about 402 ppmv for CO2), it is very effective at causing warming because it absorbs radiation of a different wavelength than CO2.

Mole for mole, methane is about 25 - 30 times more effective at causing warming than is CO2. Methane currently contributes about 1/4 the

warming effect that CO2 does. About 80% of atmospheric methane has originated from biological sources.

Methane is produced by:

* rice paddies
* anaerobic bacterial fermentation where oxygen is scarce, as in swamps and landfills (smelly)
* intestinal tracts of cattle and termites
* bacterial action following the melting of permafrost
* extraction and use of fossil fuels

The largest single source is wetlands; followed by mining, processing and use of coal; extraction and use of oil and natural gas; "enteric fermentation" (mainly cattle); and rice paddies.

Increases in methane are also related to production and use of fossil fuels. About 20% of total global methane emissions are related to fossil fuel production and use. It leaks from oil and gas exploration, recovery, and distribution (about 90% of natural gas is CH4), and it is also released in coal mining. Methane is formed as plant material turns into coal, and some of it is retained in the coal and nearby rock and then released when the coal is mined.

Methane has direct warming effects on its own, and it also contributes to the production of CO2, ozone, and water vapor in the atmosphere, which contribute about as much warming as the methane itself. Methane has approximately a 12 year atmospheric residence time, which is shorter than that of CO2 (which is about 100 years) or halocarbons, which are also about 100 years.

Halocarbons (chlorofluorocarbons and HCFC's) are also trace greenhouse gases. Many are involved in more than one environmental problem (for example, tropospheric ozone causes problems in its own right and also contributes to excess warming; CFC's deplete stratospheric ozone and also contribute to warming). Climate change models must take all greenhouse gases into account. The only source of these compounds is anthropogenic, as they are not naturally occurring. They are synthetic chemicals. They are halogenated carbon compounds, such as CFC11 (CFC13 or Freon) They all contain carbon and halogens, such as Cl (chlorine), F (fluorine), or Br (bromine), and, in the case of the HCFC's, they also contain H (hydrogen). They are (or were until recently, in some cases) used in refrigeration, aerosols, for puffing foams, as solvents for cleaning in the electronics industry, and in automobile air conditioners.

An HCFC known as R-22 has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air-conditioning systems for more than four decades. Unfortunately for the environment, releases of R-22 that result from system leaks contribute to ozone depletion. In addition, the manufacture of R-22 results in a by-product that contributes significantly to global warming.

Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, participants agreed to meet certain obligations by specific dates that will affect the residential heat pump and air-conditioning industry:

January 1, 2004:
In accordance with the terms of the Montreal Protocol, the amount of all HCFCs that can be produced nationwide must be reduced by 35% by 2004. In order to achieve this goal, participants such as the U.S. are ceasing production of HCFC-141b, the most ozone-damagingof this class of chemicals, on January 1, 2003. This production ban will greatly reduce nationwide use of HCFCs as a group, making it likely that the 2004 deadline will have a minimal effect on R-22 supplies.

January 1, 2010:
After 2010, chemical manufacturers may still produce R-22 to service existing equipment, but not for use in new equipment. As a result, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system manufacturers will only be able to use pre-existing supplies of R-22 to produce new air conditioners and heat pumps. These existing supplies would include R-22 recovered from existing equipment and recycled.

January 1, 2020:
Use of existing refrigerant, including refrigerant that has been recovered and recycled, will be allowed beyond 2020 to service existing systems, but chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce R-22 to service existing air conditioners and heat pumps.

Of course it is impossible for any government to enforce the above schedule of events. A lot more R-22 will be produced by people who have no sense of reality and no understanding of the problem they are causing. If they did understand and keep making R-22, they are very bad people and should be taken to the Earth Court of Justice. Unfortunately for them, their crime is against the global life-support systems and, therefore, is considered to be the worst crime on the Scale of Human and Earth Rights. They will face the worst punishment.

In addition to their effects on stratospheric ozone, these are important greenhouse gases. They are tremendously effective at producing warming because, even though they are present in low concentrations in the atmosphere, they absorb heat radiation of different wavelength than CO2. Mole for mole, Halocarbons are 12,000 - 15,000 times more effective at causing global warming than is CO2. Their concentrations in the atmosphere have been monitored since the late 1970's and they increased steadily and rapidly over most of that time at rates of 3-5% per year. Both production and emissions fell precipitously from 1989 on, as result of international treaties intended to halt destruction of stratospheric ozone, and now their concentrations in the atmosphere are actually beginning to decline as well. Because these compounds are very long-lived (atmospheric residence times on the order of 75 - 120 years), the decline in atmospheric concentrations lagged greatly behind the decline in emissions.

Replacements for CFC's (largely hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC's) and hydrofluorocarbons – (HFC's)) are also greenhouse gases, but are expected to make a relatively small contribution to the global warming potential contributed by other greenhouse gases. Current models predict that warming due to all halocarbons (CHC's , halons, and their replacements) will be at most 4-10% of the total expected greenhouse warming by 2100.

Last week, Bush administration officials unveiled a plan that would encourage the manufacture and export of technology to harvest methane emissions for use as a fuel. The administration pledged up to $53 million as seed money (expected to be matched by considerably more private investment) to help private companies develop the technology and create an international market for methane. To start, seven countries have pledged to join the effort: Australia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the U.K., and the Ukraine. Canada and Russia have also expressed interest. Methane, the second most common greenhouse gas -- after carbon dioxide, emissions of which Bush has refused to regulate, despite a campaign promise in 2000 -- can be harvested from landfills, coal mines, and industrial processes. Speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush pitched the plan as a way to fight global warming.

The latest charismatic megafauna on the chopping block of the modern age is the polar bear. Despite the work of dedicated conservationists, polar-bear populations are declining and experts worry they may disappear entirely within decades. The problems are manifold. For one, toxic chemicals from industrial countries tend to settle in the sea, get eaten by algae, and travel up the food chain to seals -- and polar bears. The bears store the nasty chemicals in fat as they hibernate, and then pass them to their children in high doses through milk. Every time a chemical is banned (say, DDT), another one makes its way to the Arctic (say, flame retardants). Add to that the fact that the ice the bears live on is melting thanks to global climate change; if they are driven off the ice and onto land, that would be the end of the polar bear as such.

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