The Way I See It

Global Warming: A Very Serious Threat
By Mike Bryan | May 01, 2006
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"Be Worried Be Very Worried."

These are the words emblazoned on the cover of the April issue of Time Magazine that featured an in-depth article on global warming. There is no longer a debate among the scientific community as to whether or not global warming is real. The debate now stems around whether or not we even have the capability to reverse the global warming effects that we have set in motion.

The question now is, have we topped the crest of the hill where our climate is in a downhill freefall that can only be stopped when the Earth returns to its default setting? We tend to worry about saving Earth, when we need to be thinking of saving ourselves. Earth will survive and reset itself in time, but that process could prove to be very painful, if not deadly, for its inhabitants.

Global warming is accelerating at a rate faster than the scientific community even predicted. For example, as the polar icecaps begin to melt, the rate at which they continue to do so is exponentially increased, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is because ice reflects 90 percent of the heat generated by the sun, while the surrounding sea absorbs 90 percent of the heat. So as the icecaps melt from the trapped heat generated by carbon dioxide emissions, the exposed sea simply absorbs that much more heat, exacerbating the warming process and melting more of the icecaps. From droughts and resulting famine to hurricanes and hotter temperatures, we are on a collision course with disaster.

If there is any good news in this story, it's the fact that we can make a difference, and that carbon-dioxide-reducing fuels like ethanol will likely help save our skins. If there was ever a reason to be proud of what we do, our impact on greenhouse gas reductions should be at the top of the list. There is no higher calling for this industry than to be a major contributor to helping protect our environment. This, in the final analysis, will be the legacy that we leave to the next generation.

Therefore, it is incumbent on the ethanol industry that we continue to do everything possible to reduce energy consumption, minimize industry emissions of carbon dioxide and thus improve our overall contribution to reducing global warming. This is no longer an issue for the next generation; this is our issue, and we are making a difference. As emerging technologies make ethanol production even more energy self-sufficient, our contribution will be even greater.

So while we should be "worried very worried," we should also be proud very proud of the contribution we are making. We are doing the right thing, at the right time in history.

Have a great month!