Good morning. I want to thank the Secretary-General for organizing this summit, and all the leaders who are participating. That so many of us are here today is a recognition that the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it — boldly, swiftly, and together — we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.
No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.
Tobacco and Oil, two evil addictions
By Nae Ismail, August 4, 2009
One is old and waning, the other young and still irresistible. One kills human lungs, the other Earth’s lung (our atmosphere). Their ruinous paths run closely to each other.
Oil drilling began in 4th century in minute quantity. With better equipment and assistance from steam power, widespread oil drilling began in mid-19th century. Folks switched from whale oil to kerosene for lighting. Kerosene remains the prime lighting source today for 2 billions folks in un-electrified Africa, Asia and S. America. It is cheap and chemically similar to jet fuel andtruck diesel, thus reaping the benefits of volume production on a large scale, hence low process cost. It is sold for grease cleaning in painting, auto-repair and industrial machinery.
Since the development of oil refinery and air-carburetor technology, petroleum (gasoline) is the favourite fuel of choice forengines, especially in transportation vehicles, opening up access to roads extending into new territories unreached before. A new family of power machines, called “internal combustion engine (ICE)” was born. Gasoline comes from fossil remains of formerliving tiny creatures at the bottom of food chains that were compressed under high pressure and heat for millions of years. They are liquid opposite to coal derived from land plants after similar process of pressure and heat. Oil flows that makes its delivery much easier to engines compared to coal that needs shoveling.
Ice burn fuels with atmospheric oxygen to create an explosion to produce power. At typically 25% efficiency, three times more heat waste is produced than the energy to do a job. For every volume of fuel used to do a job, three equivalent volumes have also been consumed as waste heat. Another drawback of ICE is its necessity for running non-stop, called idling, even if no work is done in order to retain working temperature. Cold ICE loses efficiency precipitously.
Environmentally, oil industry is seeking a damage dodging miracle bypass, similar to nicotine filter research in tobacco smoking. Hope is pinned on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emission with bio-fuels to stop global warming climate change. So far, results since 1972 Kyoto Accord by this method for 37 years have been unimpressive. Conceivably, someday we shall learn that harm to planet Earth is inevitable regardless of types of fuels burned. The agent causing climate change is remnant heat that nobody has bothered yet to take into account. CO2 is not responsible. In short, we are still climbing that learning curve of oil useby focusing solely on its advantages but ignorant of its cost to our life. Its true cost is yet to be revealed. When it is though, it may be too late like smokers found emphysema or cancer in smoking.
Ex-pat Muslims, refrigerators and climate change
By Nae Ismail, July 12, 2009
Can they really be related? You bet, without a doubt! But don’t blame yourself, yet.
Most indigenous Muslims still reside in hot Asian and African zones. Their lifestyles was insulated for centuries and is exclusive of the impact from fossil fuels in a macro sense. It is a different story for those cousins who have moved to America, Europe, and Australia for better jobs.
Water, coal, tidal and solar were primitive power source known in Roman-Pharaoh times. Steam, oil, gas and electricity are modern western discoveries that rule nowadays, which afford them serious industrial and economic advantages. That accounts for the east-west and south-north migration for Muslims to learn and adapt. That is good choice.
On a per capita comparison with their native host naturally acclimatized to cold climate, transplanted Muslims would tend to be heavier energy users during long winter months in their new abodes in order to achieve equivalent comfort back home. My private study suggests winter energy use as mainly responsible for global warming climate change.
Even though ex-pat Muslims are minority groups in the west, their winter energy use is disproportionately higher than their hosts by person, and therefore bear a responsibility to solving the problem of climate change as well. It is done by reducing comfort expectation to same level as natives. So brothers and sisters, be part of a solution and not problem. Turn down the thermostat and avoid unnecessary car idling. Lead by setting examples.
Besides the automobile, a refrigerator is the next appliance that separates rich from poor. While the former is main contributor to air pollution and global warming, the latter serves to illustrate as an example how shrinking polar ice and glaciers can lead to a more hostile planet in which to live, that include droughts, frequent severe storms and recurring fires.
Th top end of a refrigerator contains a condenser-evaporator where internal air is chilled and drops by gravity to the bottom to create a cold interior to preserve food by slowing all natural decay processes. Without cooling, bacteria action spoils food products at a much faster rate to make wastes. Thus investment in a fridge makes economic sense as well as enabling other functions, like storing medication, that is impossible otherwise.
Th earth is like refrigerator with polar ice caps and glaciers as cold sources. Their importance lies in pushing by gravity several strong convectional submarine currents towards the Equator to raise ocean bottom nutrients to feed tiny sea creatures that begin the food chain, on which coastal dwellers depend for economy and survival. When polar ice disappears, currents weaken and stop. Coastal life on Earth as we know will perish. No polar ice, they starve.
Above land, life depravation from losing polar ice follows a more convoluted process. Think of ice and glaciers as heat fighters to regulate atmospheric temperature and source of high pressure centres. Once gone, there will be no more surface cooling, but heating and low pressure centres only. Thermal run-away will begin and the end is unimaginable.
Fast world, Slow world
By Nae Ismail, June 30, 2009
With the exception of Venezuela, Muslim nations collectively supply 90+% of the oil in the world, yet their combined political clout in world development amount to next to zero. What is wrong with that picture?
At each press conference, President Obama is hounded by questions on his personal smoking habit. It embarrasses him to no end. Had tobacco producers taken a more holistic approach to the industry from the beginning, lung cancer and smoking related diseases would not have been such a load on our health system. My point is simply that being gifted with a natural endowment also carries an amount of moral and ethical responsibility to humanity. Just making profit is not good enough. To me, it is un-Islamic.
On the matter of natural endowment, current reserve on oil and gas is a one-time only package for ALL humanity from start to end, without repeat. It had taken millions to years to produce the saving as it were. This generation alone has no monopoly to consume it all. Like national parks that are designated against urban development for future generations to enjoy, major oil producers have fiduciary duty to earmark a portion of known reserve for our children and theirs. To me again, it raises another moral question as a conscientious Muslim.