THE ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON GLOBAL WARMING | Global Warming | Greenhouse Gas

THE ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON GLOBAL WARMING Reza Nasrullah Industrial Engineering Study Program-Engineering Faculty Universitas Islam

Bandung-Jawa Barat-INDONESIA (reza.nasrullah@gmail.com) Abstract No any tiny doubt that the current global warming phenomenon is related to human activities. And our humane activities are largely the achievements of engineering of any discipline. Industrial perspective is the context of this engineering nature of humane activities. Since the dawn of industrial era, the build up of CO2 and methane concentration in the atmosphere have been unprecedented in the last 10,000 years. The industrial perspective present a method of firstly getting the insight of the phenomenon. Secondly we explore the nature of industrial activities. And finally the model of industrial-based dynamic life system(societies) is built. The conclusion is that the root of the global warming problem lies within the uncontrollable wants of the industrial societies. Keywords: global warming, industrial, capitalism, model, dynamic life system, societies.

Introduction The most obvious fact at present: our only one earth is warming up and up slowly but sure. The global warming is causing climatic changes. The climatic changes mean various parts of the globe will suffer anomalies such as prolonged droughts, heavy rainfalls, extreme winter, and rising sea level and even cruel storms. Even Pentagon predicted that in 2020 the severe consequences could dissipate water availability

and the conflicts among human race are inevitable on reason to gain control over water supplies. So far the experts group namely Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who has been confered in various parts of the globe, has fortrightly concluded that it’s very likely (90% probability) the climate change is human-made. They refer to massive emissions of carbon dioxide since industrialisation era until now as the major contributor of global warming. And the emissions are produced mainly by power plants, factories and cars. Union of Concerned Scientists adds other factors are also involved, i.e deforestation and changing landscape due to land’s use. World Council of Churches declared that the climate change is not merely technological, economical and ecological crisis, but spiritual crisis as well. An interesting view was the title: Greed will trigger ‘ecosystem

collapse’(Aljazeera.net/english). It refers to likelihood of a large-scale ecosystem collapse within 50 years if the current global consumption levels are not cut by half.

Is it the consumption phenomenon? The current levels of consumption is very conducive for business world. On the other hand, consumers enjoy their consumptions. So how could you cut this mutual interests? The levels of life styles of many big buyers are at stake. And is there any business/entreprise/capitalist who is willing to miss the opportunity just because they have to cut spending? Can the two sides (buyers and sellers) be appealed spiritually to lower their wants and then they sincerely cut their transaction by half for the sake of other peoples’ interests?

The Nature of Global Warming Firstly, let’s compile the phenomena of the global warming as released by many reliable and competent sources as follows: 1. It is “unequivocal” that Earth’s climate is warming, “as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level” The current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and methane, two important heat-trapping gases, “exceeds by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years (The IPCC 4th Assessment Report, February 2007).(underlined italics from me) 2. Since the dawn of the industrial era concentrations of both gases (CO2 and Methane) have increased at a rate that is “very likely to have been unprecedented in more than 10,000 years” (loc.cit) (underlined italics from me). 3. It is “very likely”(i.e 90% probably correct) that emissions of heat-trapping gases from human activities have caused “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century” (loc cit) (underlined italics from me). 4. Emissions by 40 prominent nations of the world: In 2000 = 17.5 billion tons of CO2. In 2003 = 17.8 billion tons of CO2. In 2004 = 17.9 billion tons of CO2. (Sir Nicholas Stern Report-Aljazeera.net/english). 5. The United Nations Climate secretariat announced that greenhouse emissions from industrialised nations rose in 2004 to the highest levels since the early 1990s. (Aljazeera.net/english-“Stern Warning on Climate change”).(underlined italics from me)

6. The WWF said carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption were the fastest growing component of the index in the period of 2001-2003, increasing more than ninefold.(the 2006 edition of the WWF report-Aljazeera.net/english). Problem formulation As inferable from above descriptions of the current global phenomena, burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars is the major source of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. So there is an obvious link between this great potential catastrophic disaster of global warming with industrial activities. In other words, the industrial system is responsible to this problem. To be more precise, the problem can be formulated as follows: In the context of industrial activities what is something wrong within the industrial system? The Current Prominent Solutions Many international experts have been proposing their thoughts among others are: 1. Cut the current global consumption by half within 50 years ahead. (WWF’s Living Planet Report 2006-Aljazeera.net/english). 2. Find new technologies and renewable energy. (Margaret Beckett-UK Foreign SecretaryAljazeera.net/english). 3. Cut heat-trapping gases emissions to the atmosphere.(the UN’s Kyoto Protocol). 4. Everyone must pay the price of producing CO2 resulting from his/her activities.(Nicholas Stern Report-Republika Daily,November 3, 2006). 5. Stimulate, drive and support the innovation of low carbon energy or even non-carbon energy. (loc cit). 6. Clear the obstacles to energy efficiency by educating and convincing the general public. (loc cit).

7. Concern on moral and spiritual issues. (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I-Ekklesiainternet). 8. Stop/control deforestation and prevent the uncontrolled transformations of land’s use into urban sprawl and agriculture, internationally. (Union of Concerned Scientist-internet).

Where is The Root of The Problem? To find the root of the problem, we must examine the diagrams in figure 1 & 2. Figure 1 shows that the phenomena of global warming can not be seperated from the industrial system. And Industrial perspective is needed in understanding the industrial system. As underlined and italicised above, the industrial era, and the industrial nations are the notions stunning mostly, because only since then the concentrations of the two heattrapping gases reach the highly threatening level in 10,000 and or 650,000 years. This is really a “greatest achievement” of the word: industrial. And the developing nations are merely followers of the industrial nations. The figure implies that we have to seek the root of the problem inside the word: industrial. And the industrial system is closely tied with the consumption index. As we understand that inside the index lies many components, among others is energy consumption. Without good consumption index, the industrial system will suffer. Then figure 2 depicts some interdependent factors which converge to the index. Again, here we have to be brave enough to look back, and introspect that the root of the problem may hide in the economic system prevailing during the past almost two centuries: Capitalism. In fact, the industrial system is the machine of the capitalism economy. So there is interdependence among the three: industrial system-capitalism-and consumption index. While the consumption index implies the use of energy which then causes the emissions of the two heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. Therefore the underlying problem is not

how to cut energy consumption. Because it is only the consequence of the prevailing economic system of capitalism. We must explore the insight of this economic system. As depicted by figure 2, the capitalism results in the consumerism life styles. As arguably noted by M. Umer Chapra(1993), the life styles are predominated by wants rather than needs, especially owned by the few wealthy class of the capitalistic society. As the few(5% of total population) hold around averaged 70% of wealth, they have full buying power to fulfill their wants. While the middle class (25% of total population) hold around averaged 20% of wealth to apply their buying power to the mixture of needs and wants. And the rest-the lower class (70% of total population)hold around averaged 10% of wealth and can only struggle to fulfill their needs. The unequalities of wealth distributions in the capitalistic societies proved to pose stresses heavily on natural resources. Because the wants demand great production quantities of consumer goods.

The Industrial Perspective Figure 1. The Nature of Global Warming

Consumption Index Needs Wants Consumerism Life Styles ↑ Industrial Economy ↑ Capitalism Figure 2. How Consumption Index is formed And the industrial system is merely to serve the demands. It's a phenomenon of the dominant “wants fulfilling economy” over “needs fulfilling economy”. It perfectly correlates with the WWF Living Planet Report stating that “Greed will trigger ecosystem collapse if consumption levels are not cut by half within 50 years ahead globally”.

The Industrial-based Dynamic Life System Model From the Industrial perspective above, we can observe the global warming phenomena as a system of life on earth, especially life which are filled up with industrial activities. The model built below describes clearly the dynamics of the industrial societies.

Figure 3. The Model of Dynamic Industrial-based Societies It is clear from the above model that the societies are dominated by wants from the rich class because they can buy anything at any price. Since the wants dominate, the natural resources are explored and exploited by the industrial entreprises to meet these very lucrative markets. Then heavy stresses build up inevitably onto the ecosystem year by year. And finally the build up destroy the earth's natural “immune system” and it gets fever in the form of current global warming.

From the model it is inferable that the root of this potential catastrophic disaster is simply the industrial life styles of the industrial-wants dominated-societies. The dominating wants are our humane nature. Can we control our own wants? Can those rich class control their wants when they can easily spend their money at any price? Can the political leaders control those wants to reduce the stresses on natural resources? Can we curb the great threat of global warming by lowering our expectation of wants fulfillments and focusing on needs instead? Can the engineering discipline be turned to needs fulfillments rather than wants? Are those rich class willing to enjoy a humble lifestyle when in fact they are capable of acting just the opposite? Aren't these options: carbon trading, consumption cut, technological innovation, disaster mitigation, reducing emission, etc. related to wants fulfillments or needs? BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Chapra, M.Umer, Islam and the Economic Challenge,Islamic Publishing House, London, 1993(book). 2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 4th Assessment Report, February 2007.(internet). 3. WWF's Living Planet Report 2006 (internet). 4. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I-Ekklesia(internet). 5. Margaret Beckett-UK Foreign Secretary-Aljazeera.net/english). 6. the UN’s Kyoto Protocol. 7. Union of Concerned Scientist(internet). 8. Nicholas Stern Report-Republika Daily,November 3, 2006(newspaper). 9. Zandin, Kjell B.(editor), Maynard's Industrial Engineering Handbook, 5th edition, McGrawHill, New York, 2001.

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