Making Warming Hot
Belatedly, the Clinton administration tried this week to crank up its campaign for public awareness of global warming.
Alas, that effort was swamped by news from the White House's even more belated release of videotapes of Clinton fund-raising soirees. Too bad. That means the 167 nations meeting in Kyoto in December to pin down targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will remain severely split.
Developing lands ask some exemption because they come late to the multiplication of cars, factories, central heat and cooling. Richer lands quarrel: The EU wants a rollback to 15 percent below 1990 emission levels. Japan proposes 5 percent. The US is still wrestling over what to do. For the past nine years we have maintained a close watch on global warming research. Several conclusions are now clear: * There is, of course, a greenhouse effect. Without atmospheric trapping of the sun's radiation, Earth would be as cold and lifeless as Mars. * In past ages when greenhouse gases rose, the climate warmed. * During the modern industrial age, carbon dioxide has risen sharply because coal and oil powered the age. …