Don't Cop Out on the Environment

There are 2 important environmental conf-erences happening over the next few months. The first is on global climatic change (or "global warming" or "the greenhouse effect") and the second on the depletion of the ozone layer. These two issues should not to be confused. Global climatic change is where we're adding to the atmosphere more greenhouse gases (eg carbon dioxide) thus trapping warm air near the Earth and forcing up the average temperature leading to rapid and large charges in the world's weather systems. On the other hand, ozone depletion is where our lifestyle is destroying the delicate ozone layer, allowing the more energetic (UV) rays from the sun to get to ground level causing more skin cancer, eye disorders and the suppression of the immune system in humans and animals, and other negative effects in the flora and fauna around the world.

A Fair Cop?

Remember how it used to snow when you were younger? Climate change is no longer tomorrow's problem - it's already happening. And ordinary people around the world are already suffering its effects. The inhabitants of Orissa, India, know about climate change - the cyclone that struck in October 1999 was the worst ever, and killed 10,000 people. Right now, people are suffering unprecedented droughts in East Africa, the Middle East and much of the Indian subcontinent. Up to 100 million are at risk in northern India alone. The monsoon rains have failed for three years running - and climate change is thought to be the main culprit.

Building on the Kyoto conference last year, the UN is holding a climate change convention ("COP 6") in the Hague, Netherlands on 11-24 November to attempt to agree measures to tackle climate change. This however is likely to be dominated by attempts, driven by the energy corporations, to continue "business as usual" without addressing the real issues - the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end our reliance on fossil fuels, and build links with communities in the South already facing consequences of Northern lifestyles.

Governments are unable to take the decisions, corporate lobbyists are uninterested. Don't leave it to them - come to the Hague. Various organisations are going and many are having a competition for the greenish method of getting there!

Travel to COP6 from the UK: Rising Tide (UK) 16b Cherwell St, Oxford OX4 1BG
NW Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Where'd all the Ozone Go?

According World Metrological Office (WMO) reports, the amount of ozone over Antartica has decreased by a factor during August. By the end of August the amount of ozone was a staggering 30% less than the 1964-76 norms. WMO spokesman, Taysir al-Ghanem, said: "This is an alarming rate of decrease". The WMO also noted how unusual such a drop was for this early period. A bigger "Ozone hole" is also likely to appear over the Artic later in the year.
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© Networking Newsletter (Sept 2000/Sept 2003)