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Warming Climate More Deadly than 9/11/01 Terrorist Attack on World Trade Center

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  • npat1@juno.com
    Tuesday, 09 September 2003 by Michael T. Neuman, Madison, WI at: http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/13986 Summary: The science is clear: global
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 2003
      Tuesday, 09 September 2003 by Michael T. Neuman, Madison, WI at:

      Summary: The science is clear: global warming is underway, it poses a
      grave threat to the environment, public health, the U.S. economy and the
      world. As the threat of accelerating global warming continues to grow
      more probable, Congress, the mass media and President Bush have still not
      seen fit to place the issue of global warming where it belongs: on the
      front burner.

      The death toll from record setting temperatures and high humidity over
      much of Europe this year surpassed 15,000, which is more than 5 times the
      number of people who died as a result of the terrorist bombing of the
      World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The potential for even greater
      losses of life in the future as a result of rising global temperatures
      continues to grow, as rising greenhouse gases from the U.S. and the rest
      of the world continue to accumulate in the atmosphere to higher and
      higher levels.

      Meanwhile, the mainstream media overwhelmingly continues to treat climate
      change and its causes as a "science" story, detached from any political
      or social context -- not worthy enough for front page or prime time

      Scientists say the number of heat waves can be expected to increase
      dramatically in the coming years of this century, they are expected to be
      longer lasting and the heat intensity (highest temperature and humidity)
      is likely to be more deadly.

      They are likely to be right. There is nothing normal about the fact that
      the 10 warmest years of last two millenniums have occurred in just the
      last 13 years.

      There is nothing normal about there having been 87 consecutive months (in
      a row) where the global average temperature have been warmer than the
      1971-2000 average.

      Finally, there is nothing normal about the humidity levels of the five
      year period (from 1998 through 2002) in the Great Lakes region being the
      highest on record at all weather station locations recording daily dew
      point temperatures.

      Scientists attribute the higher temperatures to humans burning massive
      amounts of oil, coal and natural gas (fossil fuels) for energy over the
      past 100 - 150 years, which has caused the accumulation of billions of
      tons of additional greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, other
      gases), well exceeding the "natural" levels necessary for keeping the
      earth's surface warm and hospitable to life.

      As a result, the vast majority of the world's climate scientists now
      predict the world's average temperatures will continue to rise, faster as
      the century progresses, until the average global temperatures reaches a
      reading in the range of 2.5 to 10.5 (Fahrenheit - F) above the present
      average global temperatures by the end of the century.

      Temperatures in the Midwest are predicted to rise even faster, reaching
      temperatures 7.2 to 12.6 F in higher in winter and 3.6 to 14.4 F higher
      in summer by the end of century.

      These temperatures are also by no means normal -- neither is the rapid
      accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (an increase of 33% in
      carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere) that has occurred over the past
      150 years due to increased fossil fuel burning by humans for energy
      purposes. In fact, it took nature hundreds of millions of years to
      produce the oil, coal and natural gas we burn to run our cars, fly our
      airplanes and power our electric generating plants; yet our governmental
      officials continue to avoid taking any actions of consequence that might
      conceivably reduce the chance of more deadly heat waves occurring in the
      future, such as the deadly heat wave of 2003, and the similar heat wave
      that struck Illinois and Wisconsin in July 1995, taking 830 lives.

      President Theodore Roosevelt once said: "It is incumbent on us here today
      to so act throughout our lives as to leave our children a heritage for
      which we will receive their blessings
      and not their curses." A safe and stable climate is an essential
      component of that heritage.

      As President Bush is launching his initiative to continue to study the
      causes and effects of climate change -- rather than (and more
      importantly) taking concrete actions to bring about reductions of
      greenhouse gas emissions from the United States -- the prospects for
      leaving today's children a safe and stable climate grow increasingly

      Already now, the world is beginning to have to face serious economic and
      social effects that result from an increasingly erratic and changing
      climate. Agriculture and forestry are currently suffering huge losses
      from drought and fire.

      Without major reductions in the quantities of fossil fuel burned today,
      there is likely to be increasingly more widespread devastation from
      global warming. Adding to the mounting amounts of greenhouse gases being
      absorbed by the atmosphere is predicted to bring on global warming's
      devastation all the sooner.

      Yet there are still many things citizens, organizations, companies and
      governments can do to slow the advance of increasingly more serious
      global warming. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions would save most people
      money anyway, in addition to preserving the U.S. economy and keeping the
      air cleaner from needless burning of oil and coal.

      Citizens might also consider purchasing fewer consumer goods and
      purchasing primarily locally produced products to reduce energy required
      for transport of goods. Reducing the amount of motorized travel a person
      does and using vehicles for travel that emit the least amount of
      greenhouse gases per mile traveled is probably the area where people can
      reduce their load on the environment the most. Using less energy in the
      home is way an individual or family can reduce their annual load of
      greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

      Organizations and companies can be advocates for energy conservation in
      everything they do; companies can: operate using the most efficient
      technologies and practices possible, and government can adopt regulations
      that prohibiting frivolous burning of fossil fuels (car racing, jet
      skiing, recreational flying), and establish programs that provide
      standards for doing business and that provide positive incentives for
      individuals, organizations and companies to minimizing their reliance on
      energy derived from the burning of fossil fuel.

      On the federal level, the current Bush administration appears to be doing
      all it can to stall any concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gases
      emitted by the United States, despite the fact that the U.S. continues to
      emits more tons of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere than any other

      Upon first taking office in January 2001, President Bush abrogated the
      previous administration's agreement with the rest of the developed world
      on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by saying he wouldn't support the
      Kyoto Protocol agreement. The agreement would have established annual
      limits on the total amount of greenhouse gases the United States and
      other developed countries would be legally allowed to emit.

      More recently, the Bush administration has reversed a decision made by
      the Clinton administration to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide from
      motorized sources, primarily motorized transportation.

      Passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs account for 20 percent of U.S.
      carbon dioxide emissions; jet airplanes account for another 10 percent to
      the U.S.'s total emissions from transportation. Motorized transportation
      is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S.
      economy, followed by industrial contributors, residential consumers and
      commercial users of electricity and petroleum.

      After almost three years of taking no action to control the emissions of
      carbon dioxide from motorized sources and power plants, the Bush
      administration is now claiming its doesn't have the authority to regulate
      these sources under the broad authorities of the Clean Air Act.

      As a result, the U.S. government is continuing with its "business as
      usual", policies that increase greenhouse gas emissions, thus placing
      every country, community, family and person in the world today at an
      increasing level of risk from more killer waves and other catastrophic
      "unintended" consequences resulting from too much burning of fossil fuels
      for energy use in business, recreation, transportation and residential
      energy use.

      It is a fact that experts in global warming science the world over are
      now waving red flags and sounding alarm bells, in an almost unanimous
      attempt to raise the public consciousness, media cooperation and
      political will, particularly in the United States, so that major action
      to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. begins to be taken
      before the problem of global warming gets too far out of control. The
      greenhouse gases that are emitted to the atmosphere today remain in the
      atmosphere for decades and centuries; they don't cease to be a problem
      once their emissions rates are lowered.

      In conclusion, the science is clear: global warming is underway, it poses
      a grave threat to the environment, public health and the economy;
      meanwhile, some of those threats are already being realized throughout
      the world.

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including many of
      the world's leading scientists, issued the most comprehensive report ever
      on the issue of global warming in January 2001, just as President Bush
      was taking office. Its finding are grim -- that the recent warming, most
      of which has occurred within the last 25 years, is largely due to human
      activity, and things will heat up much more rapidly as the new century

      The IPCC forecasts are made assuming the absence of timely greenhouse gas
      emission reductions. Without such reductions, predictions are becoming
      more and more dire: devastating physical, biological, economic and human
      impacts will occur throughout the planet, as soon as 2030, according to
      Robert Hunter, Co founder of Greenpeace.

      The time for action is now, and the responsibility falls upon every
      person, community, state and country who cares about the future longevity
      of the planet and its capabilities to sustain life. You can start by
      telling your Senators to support Senators McCain and Lieberman and pass
      the historic "Climate Stewardship Act" to address the problems of climate
      change and air pollution and promote clean energy. We must begin to do
      everything within our power to help solve this potential grave problem
      for the entire human race. Scientists have already sounded the alarm
      bells about global warming; we have a responsibility to not just listen,
      but to make sure others are listening, and ultimately to reduce our
      collective amount of fossil fuel burning to the minimal amount possible,

      The alternative outcome will be what President Theodore Roosevelt
      instructed us all to avoid: of having the children of the next generation
      curse us, rather than bless us, because of the abhorrent shape we leave
      the earth in for them.


      Madison IMC: http://madison.indymedia.org/
      by Michael T. Neuman
      Email: mtneuman@...

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