Roddy Graham's Blog: 18th June 2010 - We need to protect the environment
18 June 2010
Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo
Eyjafjallajokull is a word that became quite familiar a few weeks back even though probably people got a little tongue-tied pronouncing it. However, with planes flying freely once again, Eyjafjallajokull has fallen off the radar! It doesn't even figure at the top of the Met Office severe weather warnings any more.
So besides the obvious impact the erupting volcano had on fliers, shoppers and certain business sectors, as discussed in my blog of April 23, what other impact has it had or could have going forward?
I tripped across an article the other day that claimed that in just four days Eyjafjallajokull had negated all the carbon emission savings worldwide over the past five years! Apparently, when the Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines erupted in 1991, it erupted more greenhouse gases than had been created in the previous 40 million years.
Indeed, out of control bush fires that happen annually in various parts of the world from California to Australia via Greece can negate carbon emission reductions by two to three years.
All that smoke and ash is bound to have its effect whether the above is entirely accurate or not. Eyjafjallajokull has not yet necessarily gone back to sleep and its sister volcano - Katla - is predicted to erupt in the coming months.
Every time Eyjafjallajokull has erupted, Katla has never remained dormant. It's ten times bigger than Eyjafjallajokull and has always erupted within six months of its unpronounceable neighbour. It also has a much bigger ice cap, and the combination of melting cold water and lava results in ash shooting up to high altitude. Katla last erupted in 1918 so don't bet on it not following its two-thousand-year track record. Unfortunately Katla is much easier to pronounce too. Let's just hope it's not on everyone's lips!
Meanwhile, we cannot afford to relax our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, volcanoes or no volcanoes. Natural disasters and carbon emissions we can do nothing about but man-made disasters, such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and man-made carbon emissions we can certainly limit. At a time when our oil reserves are diminishing at an unprecedented rate, it makes the BP fiasco a double-whammy. Short-cuts and bribery will end up by costing the oil giant dear and the loss of 30 million barrels of liquid gold per day are not a drop in the ocean. Quite literally! Just ask the poor folks of the four most affected states, and the majority of those are poor.
Protecting our environment and our natural resources must be a top priority. BP is easier to say than Katla and far easier to recall and utter than Eyjafjallajokull. In all cases however, they are having a dramatic effect on mankind.
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