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Water for an integrative climate paradigm
Date:3/14/2011

e forests in the global South are treated as passive carbon sinks for pollution from industrialized countries in the global North. However, what is commonly overlooked is the fact that intact vegetation actively manages the small water cycle, and cools the earth by converting sensible heat to the latent heat of evaporation.

This thesis is amplified by authors in the IJW special issue. Wilhelm Ripl from the Technical University of Berlin connects mismanagement of water with the running down of ecosystems and thus global warming. Russian physicists Makarieva and Gorshkov argue for closer attention to the climate-regulating effects of forest-ocean interactions. A Czech scientific team led by Jan Pokorny assesses the efficacy of 'Solar energy dissipation and temperature control by water and plants'.

In Pokorny's words: "Ecosystems use solar energy for self-organization and cool themselves by exporting entropy to the atmosphere as heat. These energy transformations are achieved through evapo-transpiration, with plants as 'heat valves' ... While global warming is commonly attributed to atmospheric CO2, the research shows water vapor has a concentration two orders of magnitude higher than other greenhouse gases."

Wider implications of the integrative climate model are explored by Schmidt in urban planning. Norris, Andrews and Williams demonstrate the principles in agriculture. Hesslerova and Pokorny show how warming and rainfall loss follow "development" projects that clear fell forests and engineer drainage. Australian political scientist James Goodman and activist Ellen Roberts expose the social costs on poor communities imposed by what they see as "badly conceived UN climate policies" such as the REDD scheme - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.

A final paper by Lodemann and colleagues is written from the viewpoint of environmental ethics. As Salleh notes: "The challenge is to achieve a climate politics that
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Contact: Ariel Salleh
treesprite@ozemail.com.au
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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