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    Global Warming Policy

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    If you were asked to become the minister or secretary in the Federal Government or United Nations in charge of doing something about global warming, what policies would you attempt to implement? Why?

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    Global warming is a tricky one to address. Mainly because there is a natural signal of climate fluctuation that is independent of humanities' influence. It become somewhat difficult to tease out where one stops and the other begins. However, we do indeed know that certain gasses trap IR within the atmosphere and if we increase their concentration there must be some effect. But within the confines of your question I suppose that is not the main issue, as theoretically if we can alter atmospheric chemistry in an adverse manner, perhaps the converse is true.

    Let us look at the science before we look at the policy aspects:

    Burning fossil fuels releases CO2. As the 2nd and 3rd world nations become more industrialized they begin to burn them faster, and often with less restraint (efficiency and pollution controls) as compared to 1st world nations that have had time to deal with such externalities over time. Therefore, left unchecked CO2 increases will get worse before they get better.

    The oceans' ability to sequester CO2 is inversely proportional to temperature - as defined by the Boyle's gas law. That is, as oceans warm, their ability to contain dissolved gas decreases. Furthermore, the "turnover" of oceanic water - the vertical conveyor that cycles water top to bottom - is dependent on the water and air temperatures (as well as salinity). As air and water temperatures change over time, and as ice returns to the liquid water pool, regional salinities change - affecting turnover in complex fashions that are still not well understood.

    In an associated thought, methane is another greenhouse gas, much of which is contained in methane clathrates in oceanic mucks on the continental slopes. While a new potential fuel source it might be, if the ocean temperature increases and the"warm line" moves down to the clathrate muck, this methane will release in huge quantities causing a positive feedback loop of increasing temps. Methane also is released in significant quantities by animal production facilities, but these amounts at present are offset by the losses of wetlands (which also produce methane) globally. If sea-level changes though, this could rapidly change.

    Water vapor too, is an abundant "greenhouse gas." When all other gasses are in their natural balance, so is ...

    Solution Summary

    Some basic background on global warming and possible responses as one might do in a policy-development scenario. Includes references.