Monday, May 07, 2007

To Fight Global Warming Or Not To ...

Horror scenarios of global warming are no longer being brushed aside as mere flights of imagination of some over-zealous scientists. After the publication of two successive reports submitted by UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC), people in general all over the world have belatedly become aware of the fast approaching Doom's day. It has now dawned upon everybody that this man-made crisis can only be somewhat mitigated by man-made solutions. The present war-cry is to cut down greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible so that even if action is taken now, the impact would be felt after decades.
As a simple measure, the use of energy-efficient fluorescent lamps (CFLs) instead of the conventional incandescent lamps can reduce carbon dioxide emissions drastically. According to the UN draft report, this change alone will reduce a billion metric tonnes of carbon gas emissions and will save $122 billion by the year 2020. The benefits are simply awe-inspiring and nations are getting ready to jump into the bandwagon.
Unfortunately, every change is accompanied by some pain or the other. Even before the awareness about the above energy-saving measures spreads and among the masses, the conventionalists are taxing their brains on how to stall such changes. Their contention is that use of energy-efficient lamps may enhance mercury contamination unless their manufacturing and disposal are handled with utmost care as these lamps contain highly toxic mercury in them. While no one should overlook the need of caution to be exercised, there is a risk of vested interest spreading misinformation especially among poor and illiterate masses in developing countries to pour cold water on such useful products.
Among the two evils of global warming and mercury contamination, while global warming is threatening to wipe out life from the planet Earth, mercury hazards which can become life-threatening sporadically must be minimised by adopting safe handling and disposal methods. It appears as though man is caught between the devil and the deep sea. But my survival instincts prompt me to take on global warming first and after taming the demon go after mercury hazards.

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