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Events of Past Year Revealed Certainty of Climate Change

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  • npat1
    Fw: [fuelcell-energy] ... Events of Past Year Revealed Certainty of Climate Change PORTLAND, Ore., April 21 (AScribe Newswire) -- The year 2005 may be seen as
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2006
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      Fw: [fuelcell-energy]
      ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
      Events of Past Year Revealed Certainty of Climate Change
      PORTLAND, Ore., April 21 (AScribe Newswire) -- The year 2005
      may be seen as the "tipping point" for the debate over global
      warming, one expert says - the time when a series of global events
      and solid studies came together to make a conclusive scientific case
      and motivate people from debate to action.

      The scientific evidence for greenhouse warming and other major
      climatic changes is now overwhelming, said Jane Lubchenco, the Wayne
      and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology at Oregon State
      University. Climate change is happening even faster than most
      scientists anticipated, and there is now a sense of urgency - a call
      to action - that didn't previously exist.

      "The dialogue is now shifting gears from climate science to
      climate action," Lubchenco said. "There's still a lot we need to
      learn about the science, but the events of the past year have ended
      much of the lingering debate and controversy. The most important
      question now is what can individuals, communities, states and nations
      do to reduce and prepare for climate change."

      Just recently, Lubchenco said, a series of peer reviewed
      studies have made several points clear. These include:

      - There are demonstrated increases in both atmospheric and
      ocean temperatures that can be directly attributed to human
      activities, carbon emissions and the greenhouse effect.

      - Global sea levels are rising.

      - The intensity of hurricanes has increased, due to warmer
      tropical ocean waters.

      - Snow and ice sheets are melting more rapidly.

      - Dramatic changes are taking place in vegetation, species
      distribution and ranges.

      - Changes are happening in precipitation patterns, leading to
      more droughts and floods.

      - The acid content of the oceans is increasing.

      The past year, Lubchenco said, has been significant in part
      because so many things came together at once - both natural disasters
      and scientific studies - that reveal climate change as a consistent

      "It's difficult to look at any one event, whether it's a
      severe hurricane, a flood or a drought, and say definitively that it
      was caused by a changing climate," Lubchenco said. "But when you have
      a whole series of events, you can analyze the patterns."

      Today's models are now so sophisticated that they separate out
      the human-influenced changes from the natural changes in these
      patterns, Lubchenco said. A consistent finding from 2005 is that the
      anomalies are caused by human perturbation of the climate system. For
      example, rising ocean temperatures can only be explained by increases
      in heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warming the
      planet, she said.

      And some of those changes will continue to play out for
      decades to come.

      "What has become clear is that if society wants to avoid
      future disasters, it should do two things - prevent even greater
      disruption to the climate system and prepare for the climate changes
      already set in motion," Lubchenco said. "There is urgency on both
      fronts, reducing emissions and preparing to adapt."

      A major three-year public awareness campaign was begun this
      month to help educate people on how they can help, supported by The
      Ad Council, Environmental Defense and the Robertson Foundation.
      Brochures are available on "The Low Carbon Diet" and how to "count
      carbs." Details on that initiative can be found on the web at
      http://www.fightglobalwarming.com .

      "The evidence is overwhelming that even simple changes can be
      a big help and have a huge cumulative impact," Lubchenco says. "If
      every American switched just three light bulbs to compact fluorescent
      bulbs, it would be the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the
      road. If everyone switched to a car with five miles-per-gallon better
      mileage, that would be equal to the taking another 150 million
      automobiles off the roads. Individual actions add up to big changes."

      Governments also have immense power to be part of the
      solution, Lubchenco said, and many states, including Oregon, have led
      the charge. As co-chair of the Governor's Advisory Group on Global
      Warming, Lubchenco and other Oregon leaders drafted a wide range of
      possible actions the state could take to help address these issues -
      many of which have been adopted.

      "Oregon has been a leader in its energy policies, emphasizing
      conservation, green buildings and renewable energy," Lubchenco
      said. "Now it is positioned to adopt policies that will bring even
      greater health and economic benefit by reducing greenhouse gas

      The changes coming may have far-reaching impacts, on
      everything from forestry to fisheries, sustainable agriculture, even
      roads or bridges designed to face more severe storms, flooding or
      rising sea levels. The nation's insurance industry has been one of
      the early leaders in anticipating a very different future, Lubchenco
      said, because they may be paying the bills from the catastrophes of

      "The bottom line is that the scientific evidence from 2005 and
      early 2006 is powerful and conclusive," Lubchenco said. "If society
      wishes to avoid catastrophic disruption of our lives, the time for
      action is now. Individual citizens are powerful agents of change, but
      communities, businesses, the state and the federal government will
      need to do their part."

      - - - -


      David Stauth, Oregon State University Communications, 541-737-

      Jane Lubchenco, 541-737-5337

      Media Contact: See above.




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