Hard Rain Journal 8-28-06: Six Ways for the US to Fight Global Warming
By Richard Power
Global warming, accelerated by human consumption of fossil fuels, is causing severe climate changes throughout the world.
The science is irrefutable.
And yet, many government and business leaders throughout the world content themselves with inadequate response and lip service to the greatest challenge of our time.
Worse yet, in the US, the White House, the GOP-controlled Congress and the mainstream news media continue to pretend the issue is still subject to reasonable debate. (It is not.)
Meanwhile, compelling evidence is all around us...
Signs that our local forests are stressed by global warming recently struck me while traveling over North Cascades passes in Washington state. The forest is dying near the top on both east and west sides; trees are still partially green but turning red -- old trees, young trees, the forest itself....The same reddening trees can be seen hiking through the Glacier Peak Wilderness on the trail to Spider Meadow in the Chiwawa River watershed of the Wenatchee National Forest. People are reporting that forests are dying near Mt. Rainier, on Chinook and White passes and down to central Oregon. Huge expanses of forest in central British Columbia have died and turned red....Millions of acres of lodgepole pine have been pushed over the mortality threshold by global warming. There is no longer suitable habitat for the trees that have been growing there... Forests have an upper heating limit that they can tolerate. When heating goes beyond that limit, trees and other plants go into a rest state, a kind of hibernation, where they rest until conditions might improve. In that state they do not convert carbon to oxygen. Further stressed, they die. Forests created and maintain the planetary atmosphere. They are having a difficult time maintaining the conditions for life as it is known because humans have removed so many of them. Now, as massive amounts of forest are dying and no longer convert carbon to oxygen, the conditions necessary for our life here are being lost. Pat Rasmussen, Cascades' Reddened Forests Signal Threat to Humans, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8-25-06
Emily Figdor of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) has outlined a national anti-global warming strategy for the US:
Rising to the Challenge: Six Steps to Cut Global Warming Pollution in the United States is the first report to provide a national blueprint for achieving the short-term cuts in emissions that science shows are needed to put the U.S. on a path to avoid the worst effects of a warming world....The report details six challenging but feasible steps to improve the energy efficiency of our economy and use more renewable energy. These strategies, coupled with strong, mandatory limits on global warming emissions, would reduce U.S. global warming emissions by 19% below 2004 levels by 2020 (see chart below). At the same time, the steps would improve American’s long-term economic and energy security. The six steps include:
1. Stabilize vehicle travel. Americans drive nearly twice as many miles per year as they did a quarter-century ago, leading to increased emissions of global warming pollutants....
2. Increase vehicle fuel economy standards to 40 miles per gallon and set fuel economy standards for large trucks....
3. Replace 10% of vehicle fuel with biofuels or other clean alternatives....
4. Reduce energy consumption in homes, business, and industry by 10% from current levels. Dramatic improvements in energy efficiency are possible in virtually every aspect of American life....
5. Obtain 20% of our electricity from new renewable energy sources. America has virtually limitless potential for the generation of power from natural forces....
6. Hold emissions from other sources to current levels....
New Report: U.S. Can Cut Global Warming Pollution 20 Percent by 2020, Tools at Our Disposal Now, 8-24-06
Unfortunately, the political establishment is not providing leadership, nor is the mainstream news media.
Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"
There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.
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Global Warming, Energy Security, Environmental Security, Alternate Energy, Sustainability, Renewable Resources, Climate Change, Weather, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, Extreme Weather, Canada, Cascades, Forests, British Columbia, US PIRG, Public Interest Research Group