January 19, 2007

I'm not the only one afraid of Global Warming...


1 - Rank of 2006 as hottest year on record in the continental United States.

1 - Rank of America as top global warming polluter, emitting almost as much as the European Union, Russia and Japan combined.

20 - Percent increase of America's carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels since 1990.

15 - Percent increase of America's carbon dioxide emissions forecasted by 2020 if we do not cap pollution.

80 - Percent decrease in America's global warming pollution required by 2050 to prevent the worst consequences of global warming.

78 - Number of days by which the U.S. fire season has increased over the past 20 years - tied closely to increased temperatures and earlier snowmelt.

200 million - Number of people who could be displaced globally by extreme droughts, sea level rise and flooding by 2080.

358 - Number of U.S. mayors (representing 55 million Americans) who have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement pledging to meet or beat Kyoto goals in their communities.

0 - Number of federal bills passed by Congress to set a mandatory, economy-wide cap on America's global warming pollution.

0 - Number of times President Bush has mentioned "global warming" or "climate change" in his previous State of the Union speeches.

Another piece from They are as afraid of this mess as I am:


The science of global warming is too uncertain to act on.

There is no debate among scientists about the basic facts of global warming.

The most respected scientific organizations have stated unequivocally that global warming is happening, and people are causing it by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which in 2005 the White House called "the gold standard of objective scientific assessment," issued a joint statement with 10 other National Academies of Science saying "the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions." (Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005)

The only debate in the science community about global warming is about how much and how fast warming will continue as a result of heat-trapping emissions. In the case of global warming, scientists have given a clear warning, and we have more than enough facts to act on.

Global warming is just part of one of the earth's natural cycles.

The global warming we are experiencing is not natural.

People are causing it by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. Scientists have shown that these activities are pumping far more carbon dioxide (C02) into the atmosphere than was ever released in hundreds of thousands of years. This buildup of CO2 is the biggest cause of global warming. (IPCC 2001) Since 1895, scientists have known that CO2 and other greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the earth. As the warming has intensified over the past three decades, scientific scrutiny has increased along with it. Scientists have considered and ruled out other natural explanations such as sunlight, volcanic eruptions and cosmic rays. (IPCC 2001)

Though natural amounts of CO2 vary from 180 to 300 parts per million (ppm), today's CO2 levels are around 380 ppm. That's 25% more than the highest natural levels, looking back 650,000 years. Increased CO2 levels have corresponded with higher average temperatures throughout that long record. (Boden, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center)

As the ozone hole shrinks, global warming will no longer be a problem.

Global warming and the ozone hole are different problems.

The ozone hole is a thinning of the stratosphere's ozone layer, which is roughly 9 to 31 miles above the earth's surface. The depletion of the ozone is due to man-made chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). A thinner ozone layer lets more harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the earth's surface.

Global warming, on the other hand, is the increase in the earth's average temperature due to the buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities.

We can adapt to climate change—civilization has survived droughts and ice ages before.

Individual civilizations have collapsed from dramatic climatic shifts.

Although humans as a whole have survived the vagaries of drought, ice ages and more, not every society has. What's more, unless we limit the amount of heat-trapping gases we are putting into the atmosphere, we will face a warming trend unseen since human civilization began 10,000 years ago. (IPCC 2001)

The consequences of continued warming at current rates are likely to be dire. Many densely populated areas, such as low-lying coastal regions, are highly vulnerable to climate shifts. A middle-of-the-range projection is that the homes of 13 to 88 million people around the world would be flooded by the sea each year in the 2080s. Poorer countries and small island nations will have the hardest time adapting. (McLean et al. 2001) In what appears to be the first forced move resulting from climate change, 100 residents of Tegua island in the Pacific Ocean were evacuated by the government because rising sea levels were flooding their island. Some 2,000 other islanders plan a similar move to escape rising waters.

Scarcity of water and food could lead to major conflicts with broad ripple effects throughout the globe. Even if people find a way to adapt, the wildlife and plants on which we depend may be unable to adapt to rapid climate change. While the world itself will not end, the world as we know it may disappear.


T.A. Boden, R.J. Stepanski, and F.W. Stoss, Trends '91: A Compendium of Data on Global Change, ORNL/CDIAC-46 (Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, December 1991).

IPCC. 2001. Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Edited by J.T. Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C.A. Johnson. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005

The Latest Myths and Facts on Global Warming [PDF], Environmental Defense, 2005.

McLean, R.F., A.Tsyban, V. Burkett, J.O. Codignotto, D.L. Forbes, N.Mimura, R.J. Beamish, V. Ittekkot, L. Bijlsma and I. Sanchez-Arevalo. 2001. IPCC Third Assessment Report, Contribution of Working Group II, Chapter 6.
The Dangers . The Science .

Posted by pamwagg at January 19, 2007 10:51 PM


An Inconvenient Truth has a website at or .org

Posted by: Pam W at January 23, 2007 06:47 PM

This was on today. Offers a glimmer of hope, so I thought I'd pass it along. Forgive the copyright infringement.

CEOs call for action against climate change
POSTED: 2:23 p.m. EST, January 22, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chief executives of 10 major corporations, on the eve of the State of the Union address, urged President Bush on Monday to support mandatory reductions in climate-changing pollution and establish reductions targets.

"We can and must take prompt action to establish a coordinated, economy-wide market-driven approach to climate protection," the executives from a broad range of industries said in a letter to the president.

Bush, who in the past has rejected mandatory controls on carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases, was expected to address climate change in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, but has repeatedly argued that voluntary efforts are the best approach.

Major industry groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers continue to oppose so-called "cap and trade" proposals to cut climate changing pollution, mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.

But the 10 executives, representing major utilities, aluminum and chemical companies and financial institutions, said mandatory reductions are needed and that "the cornerstone of this approach" should be a cap-and-trade system.

Members of the group, called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, include chief executives of Alcoa Inc., BP America Inc., DuPont Co., Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co., and Duke Energy Corp.

At a news conference, the executives said that mandatory reductions of heat-trapping emissions can be imposed without economic harm and would lead to economic opportunities if done economy-wide and with provisions to mitigate costs.

Many of the companies already have voluntarily moved to curb greenhouse pollution, they said. But the executives also said they do not believe voluntary efforts will suffice.

"It must be mandatory, so there is no doubt about our actions," said Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy. "The science of global warming is clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now."

Fred Krupp, president of Environmenal Defense, a member of the alliance, called the executives' support "a game changer" in the debate over climate. "We are asking Congress to not wait for a new administration and not wait for the presidential debates."

In the letter the executives urged Congress "to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The legislation should cut these releases 10 percent below today's levels within a decade and at least 60 percent by 2050, according to the action plan.

At his daily news briefing, White House press secretary Tony Snow dismissed any call for mandatory carbon caps to deal with climate. "There's been some talk about, sort of, binding of economy-wide carbon caps in the speech, but they are not part of the president's proposal," said Snow.

The first days of the new Democratically controlled Congress have seen a rush of legislation introduced to address climate change, all of which have some variation of a cap-and-trade approach to dealing with climate change.

Among those pushing cap-and-trade climate bills are two leading presidential aspirants, Sens. Barack Obama, D-Illinois and John McCain, R-Arizona.

Essentially such a mechanisms would have mandatory limits of greenhouse gas emissions, but would allow companies to trade emission credits to reduce the cost. Companies that can't meet the cap could purchase credits from those that exceed them or in some case from a government auction.

Also signing the letter to Bush were the executives of Lehman Brothers, PG&E Corp., PNM Resources, FPL Group and four leading environmental organizations.

Posted by: Elizabeth Grace at January 22, 2007 10:46 PM

Dear Pam,

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that America (does that include South America?) is ranked the #1 global warming polluter, but it does disturb me, as it should. And no federal bills passed by Congress to curb our energy use and global warming pollution, that is depressing. So, how do we mobilize? And who do we write to in the Congress to pressure for action? My feeling is that if people join together on this issue, then positive things will happen and I think it's starting to happen, bit by bit. But I googled An Inconvenient Truth and was surprised that Al Gore doesn't have a site connected to his film, though I really have to do some more research.

Posted by: Kate K. at January 21, 2007 08:23 PM

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