Wednesday, 11 August 2010 16:58

Getting Beyond Questioning Climate Change—To Taking Action

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2010 is poised to be the hottest year on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center reveals that hundreds of daily maximum temperature records have been broken or tied recently. This follows the hottest June on record, and the fact that in the past 30 years, each decade has gotten warmer. The temperature trend, besides making climate change undeniable, urges us as a nation to get beyond the question of climate change—to taking action. In the last century, it took our nation less than 10 years to go from scientific inquiry to acting on the problem of acid rain. After studying the problem in the 1980s, Congress and the first Bush administration in 1990 cleared a series of amendments to the Clean Air Act that included a successful cap-and-trade system to control emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The EPA then issued in 2005 the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which further reduced emissions. These actions reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide by approximately 40 percent from 1990 levels and nitrogen oxides by more than half. Yet it’s been decades since all of us were warned about climate change, and this time the ramifications are much, much greater. The data has confirmed that climate change is happening, and as NOAA’s recent State of the Climate report shows—food supplies, public health and the viability of many populated areas are in jeopardy, in addition to rising sea levels and severe floods & heat waves. It’s time to act, and act now. The nation needs to pass comprehensive climate legislation urgently and each of us should do what we can to reduce our climate impact. Moreover, businesses that are already reducing their impact should be commended, not penalized for taking initiative. If we are going to create the green jobs our nation needs, improve our national security and fight climate change, the buck stops with Congress—to pass strong climate legislation that effectively reduces our country’s emissions and commits the nation to a clean energy future. Image Credits: EPA, MSNBC
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