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Climate Change / Global Warming

An increase in 2.5-10 degrees in the temperature of the planet in the next century may seem insignificant. But if you consider rising sea levels, flooding, drought, crop failure and the dislocation of huge populations, the consequences would be catastrophic. Some numbers:

Glacier for web
Jet contrails will increase temperatures in the lower atmosphere over the US by at least one degree every 20 years.

If Greenland's ice were to melt, sea levels would rise 21 feet.

Glacier National Park will have no glaciers by 2030.

2005 was the hottest year on record.

There's been a 100% increase in intensity and duration of hurricanes and tropical storms hitting the US since the 1970's.

Estimated damage caused by hurricanes hitting the US in 2005 is $100 billion.

The US is responsible for 25% of the world's carbon emissions, yet we continually refuse to participate in the Kyoto Accord. Is there anything an individual can do? Our government leaders certainly will do what they've always done--nothing--unless they know that we care and that our vote depends on their taking measures to curb our emissions. Many local governments are already taking steps of their own. From an individual's point of view, it makes sense where possible for each of us to drive less, and to drive the most fuel-efficient and least pollutant-emitting automobile that we can find. On the other hand, the auto industry continues to resist making truly efficient cars and trucks, and has even been padding mileage figures for years. And any massive shift to a new national fleet is going to entail the production of a lot of vehicles, in itself demanding an enormous amount of carbon and other emissions.

We can change corporations, chiefly by what we are willing to buy and spend. The rise in the production of hybrid vehicles is an example of the industry meeting a demand and changing to some degree in the process. Former President Bush said we are addicted to oil, but we are also addicted to driving. A friend once said: Americans consider their right to have meat with every meal as inalienable as their right to drive.

We have to be willing to make and accommodate the necessary changes in the way we live. We must demand our government make large-scale policy changes to address the issue, and we must make those changes ourselves. Our links give many ideas about how this can be accomplished.

Now What? Use these resources to learn more and work for change: