Only Connect

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Oct 10 11:21:42 MDT 2000


1) Higher Fuel Prices Do Little to Alter Motorists' Habits


When the price of oil tripled in the mid-1970's, Americans' consumption of
gasoline fell sharply. Congress approved sweeping new rules calling for a
doubling of the fuel efficiency of cars. Gasoline-sipping Honda Civics and
Toyota Corollas became some of the most popular cars on the road, shaking
the confidence of the American automobile industry.

Over the last two years, energy prices have tripled again, but one would
hardly know it from looking at America's roads.

Few people have sharply cut back on their driving or have begun shopping
for cars based primarily on fuel efficiency, according to interviews around
the country and data from the government and auto industry. The nation is
on pace to use almost the same amount of gasoline as it did last year,
which was the most ever. Sport-utility vehicles and other trucks continue
to gain market share slowly.

Full article:


2) Even in Frigid North, Hints of Warmer Temperatures


ALERT, Canada - As the men and women stationed at this Canadian military
base prepare to kick off four months of polar night with a "sunset party"
on Oct. 14, the threat of global warming seems far from the northernmost
human settlement in the world.

Until the sun peeks over the horizon again on March 1, workers going
outside will clip themselves to orange rope "lifelines" to avoid getting
lost in the frigid, 24-hour night. Artificially built like a lunar colony,
this combined weather station and radio listening post stands on a barren,
treeless bluff halfway between Canada's last Inuit community and the North
Pole, 507 miles north of here. Alert, in the territory of Nunavut, is as
far from Toronto, 2,700 miles, as New York City is from the Amazon.

Cold weather shaped the construction of this station. Windows are quadruple
paned and permanently sealed. At each entrance, a pair of thick
refrigerator doors blocks the winter cold of 50 below.

Cigarette smoke wafts freely through dormitories and bars, as Alert is the
last Canadian military post to allow smoking indoors. For much of the year,
smoking outdoors would be a death sentence.

But even here, on Ellesmere Island, North America's northernmost tip, the
inhabitants think they can see hints of climate change. Glaciers are
receding. Winter rains are blamed for declining populations of Peary
Caribou. And guides who regularly lead skiing expeditions to the pole say
spring temperatures are rising.

"It has been a lot warmer in the last few years," said Richard Weber, a
Canadian cross-country ski champion who has led groups to the pole every
April since 1995. On the treks, Mr. Weber said, the temperatures have risen
from about 15 below to about zero.

Full article:


3) Record Ozone Hole Refuels Debate on Climate


The hole that opens in the ozone layer over Antarctica each southern spring
formed earlier and grew bigger this year than at any time since satellites
have been monitoring the polar atmosphere, scientists have reported.

The finding renewed suspicions among atmospheric scientists that global
warming could be indirectly abetting the chemical reactions that destroy
ozone, but many still say the growth of the hole could also be the result
of natural, albeit unusual, variations in Antarctic weather and other

In early September, several weeks before it normally reaches its peak, the
hole expanded to a record 17.1 million square miles, an expanse larger than
North America, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. By comparison, in 1981, according to the atmospheric
agency, it covered just 900,000 square miles.

Full article:

Louis Proyect
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