Carbon dioxide and other air pollution that is collecting in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun's heat and causing the planet to warm up. Coal-burning power plants are the largest U.S. source of carbon dioxide pollution -- they produce 2.5 billion tons every year. Automobiles, the second largest source, create nearly 1.5 billion tons of CO2 annually. The earth's atmosphere is changing and its effects are already being felt, most notably in the polar regions of the globe. Global warming is a complex phenomenon, and its full-scale impacts are hard to predict far in advance. But each year scientists learn more about how global warming is affecting the planet, and many agree that certain consequences are likely to occur if current trends continue. Among these:
- Melting glaciers, early snowmelt and severe droughts will cause more dramatic water shortages in the American West.
- Rising sea levels will lead to coastal flooding on the Eastern seaboard, in Florida, and in other areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico.
- Forests, farms and cities will face troublesome new pests and more mosquito-borne diseases.
- Disruption of habitats such as coral reefs and alpine meadows could drive many plant and animal species to extinction.
You can help fight global warming. Not only are there simple steps you can take to reduce pollution, but you can make your voice heard to the politicians who are responsible for making policy that protects our environment and ultimately our people.
Please use the resources and links below to take action today against climate change
In his presidential campaign, George W. Bush made only one environmental promise. Bush promised to take the issue of climate change seriously. But he walked away from the Kyoto Protocol, refusing even to discuss the issue, and he has continued to stall in formulating a response to the issue. In July, Bush announced his first and only concrete action to date that will mitigate carbon emissions - a trivial $14 million debt for forest swap in Honduras. Debt for nature swaps are an important as tools, but this action is clearly just a diversion so that the president can claim that he is doing something. The reality is that the Bush administration is ignoring this global need to act.
We, the people, must demand that our leaders take meaningful action, and the only way to do so is to pound them with public input. Use the following sample letter to write to George Bush and demand action.
- HTML format (for printing or copying into an email)
- Microsoft Word format (for downloading, editing and printing to send by mail)
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
While the US Government does nothing in the face of Climate Change, responsible states and local governments have taken up the initiative. This is the kind of progress we must support! Urge your state and local politicians to take action to stop Global Warming. Urge Your Senators to Support a Better Energy Plan for America!
All that we consume uses energy, and because our society is primarily dependent on fossil fuels, energy use pollutes the atmosphere with climate changing carbon dioxide (CO2). How and where do we consume energy? If you get in a car every day, this is your greatest consumption. Burning one gallon of gas creates emissions of over 20 pounds of CO and CO2! Next in line on average is household energy use, then pollution caused in the production and delivery of all that we consume. To reduce carbon dioxide pollution, then, first reduce gas consumption! The routes to less gas consumption are:
Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). 2000-2001. High Noon. The Amicus Journal. Winter 2001:6-7. (available online)
- Don't drive your car! Obviously, biking, using public transit, telecommuting, or carpooling are the most effective and drastic ways to cut your pollution. Car sharing programs (such as Flexcar of Seattle and Portland), with 150,000 members worldwide, are great alternatives if you live in a city and need a car just a few times a week. It isn't available in many places yet, but you can check the car shareing net website for your area. If you live in a city that doesn't have such system, ask your local politicians to create one! Unfortunately, this isn't an option in all of our lives, so:
- Get a more fuel efficient car. The new gas/electric hybrids, Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, are defining fuel efficiency. A proliferation of overpowered SUVs, of course, epitomize of our nation's denial of Climate Change as a real issue, especially as the auto industry maintains a lobby to keep fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards low (ACT to raise fuel efficiency standards).