It's almost as if there are consequences to all actions.
First, we find that the cleaner the air, the more the Earth heats up:
Europe is heating up much faster than climate researchers expected, and now
they think they know why: air made dramatically cleaner by anti-pollution
programs. With less particle pollution clouding the air, more sunlight is coming
through and the continent is getting warmer.
The 1970s were a hazy time: Cars ran on sulfur-rich gasoline, power plants
and heavy industry burned sulfur-rich coal. Europe lay under a blanket of fumes
filled with sulphate particles. Acid rain brought the particles back to earth,
ravaging the continent's forests. That was then.
The situation today is considerably different. Auto emissions are low in
sulfur, power plants only run with smoke filters and acid rain is no longer an
issue. But the success of efforts to restore Europe's air quality have had an
unintended side effect that is just now coming to light. Because the atmosphere
over Europe is increasingly clean, global warming is impacting the continent
more quickly than other regions of the world.
And second, we find that the Western world's demand for Ethanol is creating food shortages, which are leading to rioting and starvation:
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor
The mass diversion of the North American grain harvest into ethanol plants
for fuel is reaching its political and moral limits.
The UN says it takes 232kg of corn to fill a 50-litre car tank with
ethanol. That is enough to feed a child for a year. Last week, the UN predicted
"massacres" unless the biofuel policy is halted.
We are all part of this drama whether we fill up with petrol or ethanol.
The substitution effect across global markets makes the two morally