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Marieta Huff: We must stop global warming | Voice Of The People | kenoshanews.com – Kenosha News

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Did you hear this joke? “Bill Gates claims a cow emits more pollution than a car. Suppose I lock myself in a garage with a cow overnight. Bill can lock himself in a garage with a running car overnight. In the morning we’ll discuss the results.” Funny? Hardly.

Bill Gates is one of multitudes of people who are concerned about global warming caused by carbon dioxide and methane. The guts of ruminants (cows) produce methane, but so does microbe fermentation in wetlands and rice paddies, natural gas being fracked or leaked from pipelines and oil wells, coal mines. Another source, forest fires, seem to increase each year. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide.

Methane packs a surprising punch. Measured over a century, a molecule of methane warms the planet roughly 30 times more than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Every year that it gets warmer more methane will be produced by microbes in rice paddies and wet lands. Also, huge amounts of methane are trapped in polar permafrost. Last summer, the Russian Artic region had record breaking temperatures. A 165-foot-deep hole was found after an eruption of methane that had built up below the thawing permafrost. More heat, more methane, a vicious cycle.

Part of the Nanda Devi glacier in India snapped off on Feb. 17, releasing the water trapped behind it causing death and destruction downstream. Ice shelves in Antarctica are melting from the bottom up and have lost nearly 4 trillion metric tons of ice since the mid-1990s. Melting polar caps cause sea-level rise endangering islands and coasts, including ours on Lake Michigan. We must stop global warming, if it’s still possible.

Marieta Huff, Kenosha

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