This is a summary and anthology of my four-part series on The Ecological Crisis & Its Solution. The main focus of this series of posts is climate change, although I do touch on other ecological issues.
In Part 1, I go over some basic climate science and encourage the reader to do a couple simple science experiments at home. I show the reader how they can easily verify claims of climate scientists. Climate scientists claim that CO2 causes warming and changes water acidity; and, they claim that changes in water acidity can affect aquatic life. I show the reader how these things can easily be proven through direct experimentation, without having to take a scientists word for it.
In Part 2, I discuss the carbon cycle and how the burning of fossil fuels is creating excess CO2 that is not able to be absorbed and handled by the regular carbon cycle. I explain how fossil fuels are made from the remnants of carbon-based lifeforms and burning them releases additional carbon into the atmosphere, carbon that had previously been trapped deep beneath the Earth's surface. Additionally, I discuss how we can know that the excess CO2 and the global warming it generates is caused my human activity and not by other natural processes.
In Part 3, I talk about methane emissions, melting permafrost, and thermohaline circulation. Melting permafrost is allowing tons of methane to escape from beneath the ground in Siberia, leaving behind giant craters. Additionally, bacteria and viruses that have been frozen beneath arctic ice and permafrost are thawing and coming back to life. I discuss a recent outbreak of a deadly disease caused by permafrost thawing. I also talk about how global warming and the melting of arctic ice could change thermohaline circulation in the ocean, causing the Gulf Stream to stop carrying warm water northeastwards towards Europe, which would cause Europe to become much colder. The warmth from the Gulf Stream causes the United Kingdom and Iceland to have relatively warm climates for their distance from the equator. Melting of arctic ice due to generally warmer global temperatures would then lead to cooling for Europe.
In Part 4, I turn to a more optimistic tune and discuss how we can solve the problem of climate change and prevent the ecological crisis from destroying mankind's hopes for survival. I use Murray Bookchin's social ecology as a point of departure, but ultimately reject Bookchin's proposal. Instead, I propose the use of Pigouvian taxes—emissions taxes, cap and trade, etc.—as a means of changing our social and economic relations into something more ecologically sound. I discuss the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, passed into law by President George H. W. Bush. I talk about how those regulations phased out CFCs and ultimately helped to start repairing the hole in the ozone layer. Most importantly, I discuss the policy of cap and trade for SO2 and other emissions associated with acid rain, which was established by those same amendments to the Clean Air Act. I point out how effective cap and trade actually was at reducing certain emissions and how acid rain has been greatly reduced.