From Michael Neuman Madison, Wisconsin No political affiliations Madison Independent Media Center http://madison.indymedia.org/ ... Greens: U.S. Government andMessage 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2005View SourceFrom Michael Neuman
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Madison Independent Media Center
Greens: U.S. Government and Citizens Must Act Now to Keep Global
Warming Time Bomb from Going Off
Saturday, 29 January 2005
Michael T. Neuman, Madison IMC
Summary: "There can be few greater challenges in the twenty-first
century than addressing the threat of climate change. Left
unmitigated, the impacts are expected to be devastating. Urgent
action is needed."
So concludes yet another independent international taskforce report
on climate change published last week on the Internet called "Meeting
the Climate Challenge".
"An ecological time bomb is ticking away", says British Prime
Minister Tony Blair's adviser Stephen Byers, who co-chaired the
taskforce with U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe from Maine. Global warming
is approaching a point of no return after which widespread drought
and crop failure, more frequent, longer and deadlier heat waves, and
rising seas will be irreversible, concludes the report.
Leaders of the U.S. Green Party released a statement urging the White
House, Congress, and the American people to "read and act" on the
recommendations in the report "before catastrophic global climate
change becomes inevitable". "Deference by Bush, Republicans, and
Democrats to corporate interests on energy policy is endangering the
world", the Green's January 25, 2005 release from Washington D.C.
The International Climate Change Taskforce is a unique cross-party
collaboration of leaders from the public sector, science, business,
and civil society in both developed and developing countries, and
their recommendations are addressed to all governments and
policymakers worldwide. The report is published on the web sites of
the British Institute for Public Policy Research, the Center for
American Progress in the United States and the Australia Institute.
It recommends developed nations, such as the United States - the U.S.
is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases in the world - take the
lead on curbing global warming.
The recommendations identify an urgent need to prevent global average
temperature from rising more than 2C (3.6F) above natural background
levels that existed prior to about 1850, when fossil fuel burning by
human greatly increased. Above that level, widespread drought, crop
failure, devastating heat waves, massive extinctions and rising sea
and flood levels may be irreversible, finds the report.
The recommendations call for industrialized nations to adopt a
renewable portfolio standard mandating at least 25% of electricity be
obtained from renewable energy sources by 2025, advancement of
employment of technologies for energy-efficient, low- and zero-carbon
energy supply, and compliance with technology agreements that will
lead to large emission reduction and complete phase-out of all fossil
The report calls for the developed countries to provide greater
financial and technical assistance to help vulnerable countries adapt
to climate change, including establishment of an international
compensation fund to support disaster mitigation and preparedness in
poorer countries, and calls on all governments to commit to actions
on climate change that will raise public awareness of the problem and
at the same time build broad public support for climate protection
Also released last week were the results of the largest climate
change modeling project ever performed. Published in the scientific
journal "Nature", the study concludes that unless the humans greatly
reduce their inputs of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from
fossil fuel burning now, global surface temperatures could reach
temperature levels that are more than twice as high as predicted by
the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The modeling project is funded by the National Environmental Research
Council and led by three major British universities - the University
of Oxford, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and The Open
University. The study tested thousands of climate models and found
that some produced a world that warmed by double the expected
temperature increase predicted by the IPCC by the end of the century.
After some 60,000 simulations, the results show large areas of the
northern hemisphere at 11C (close to 20 degrees F warmer than
present) above pre-industrial temperature levels. The implications of
such a rise in temperatures by the end of the century, caused by the
build up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere, means temperature levels that were predicted by the IPCC
to occur by the end of the century could be happen as early as 2050.
In releasing their statement assessing the taskforce report, Green
Party leaders blasted the Bush Administration for drafting U.S.
energy policy in secret consultation with corporate lobbyists, and
criticize Democrats for supporting increased oil drilling in pristine
public lands in Alaska, construction of new pipelines through Canada
to the U.S., and increased fossil fuel mining throughout North
"What we really need is a conversion from our dependence on fossil
fuels," said Jake Schneider, treasurer of the Green Party of the
United States. "The greatest barrier to enacting these steps in the
U.S. is the reluctance of public officials to step on the toes of
industry, especially energy corporations," he claimed.
Green Party spokespersons in Wisconsin have been voicing similar
concerns. Green Co-spokesperson Jill Bussiere calls global
warming "one of the most important issues before us, since all our
human activity, including economics, is based upon the health of the
earth upon which we live". She adds that we shouldn't be waiting for
others to act before we in Wisconsin reduce our greenhouse gas
emissions, noting that Wisconsin Green candidates for governor and
lieutenant governor Jim Young and Jeff Peterson made global warming
one of their top issues when they ran for office in 2002.
Wisconsin businesses and citizens could be more widely demonstrating
ways of building and retrofitting buildings, ways of growing food,
and ways of obtaining, using, and conserving energy in business,
homes, public buildings and in transportation, and thus strengthening
local economies, reducing fossil fuel burning dependency and
protecting air quality, water resources and the land, to say nothing
of the costs savings that would come from reduced road capacity
expansions, Bussiere claims. She suggests Wisconsin legislators, the
governor and the Wisconsin Congressional delegation should be
devoting more time and resources toward mitigation of global warming,
including its prevention via greenhouse gas emission reductions, as
well as increasing state preparedness in anticipation of its impacts,
which could be substantial and occur sooner than expected.
"The taskforce report is consistent with the Green Party's call for
the U.S. to sign onto the Kyoto accord, and for Kyoto to be
renegotiated to include more far-reaching measures to reduce fossil
fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions," said Holly Hart, co-
chair of the Platform Committee of the Green Party of the United
States. As the world's highest energy consumer, the U.S. must
implement such measures at home, and not wait for other nations to
catch up to us before we do anything, she said.