Iowa Public Television


Global Warming: The Short Course

posted on April 25, 2003

The USDA is making available three million dollars from the government's Environmental Quality Incentives, or EQIP program, to California farmers. The money is to help them comply with new EPA air quality standards requiring dramatic reductions in emissions from non-road engines. Typically those are diesel agricultural engines.

A more ambitious effort is an on-going global quest to combat planetary warming. The target of that effort is not just emissions but the release of specific gases.


For more than two decades, scientists and ecologists have believed that increased emissions of carbon dioxide have contributed to the trapping of more of the sun's rays than would occur naturally. The result, referred to as the "greenhouse effect", is projected to raise the overall temperature of the earth a few degrees. Those few degrees could change everything from where people live to where crops can be grown.

Believing there was some credence to the theory, representatives of 39 developed nations went to Japan in 1997 to work out possible solutions. The representatives created and signed what is now known as the Kyoto Protocol. If ratified by enough of the governments of the signatory nations, greenhouse gasses, or GHGs, will be required to be reduced below 1990 levels. Those reduction goals are to be met between 2008 and 2012. As yet, the United States Congress has not ratified the agreement.


Tags: climate change global warming news