Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

June 16, 2009

Now Is The Time To Act on Climate Change Legislation

Category: Climate Change,News,Policy – Tom Harrison – 4:34 pm

Days over 90° in Boston (click to enlarge)

Days over 90° in Boston (click to enlarge)

Fossil fuel use has created a quickly accelerating problem in the US and world. It has already and will continue to affect our water and food supplies, our safety and health, our security. It’s impacts also compound each other, are unpredictable, not fully understood, are not reversible, and which we need to act now to mitigate or adapt to; every day we delay makes the problem less solvable.

This is how I summarize the report issued today titled Authoritative Assessment of National, Regional Impacts of Global Climate Change from the United States Global Change Research Program. All regions of the country are discussed, so pick yours and see if you like what’s coming. Here’s a link to the summary of my region, the Northeast US (pdf).

Right now Congress is considering the Waxman-Markey Bill (officially, “American Clean Energy and Security Act”, and the official summary).

Views from the right and left have taken issue with the legislation. In my book, this is a sign of a bill that is about as good as a bill can get. That’s not to say it’s “great”, but it is a start.

To those who would hold out for something more perfect, I encourage you to carefully look at the Assessment report that came out today. There are lots of bad things that are happening, and will happen, but the key in my view is simply this: every day that passes makes the problem even more severe and difficult to address. The Waxman-Markey bill is our shot at addressing climate change in a truly significant way. The house leadership is still working on getting the bill passed (and sent on to the Senate) this month.

So once again, if you’re not sure whether we need to do all this, please consider the report from the US Government. I’ll take the liberty to reproduce the key findings,

  1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced
  2. Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow
  3. Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase
  4. Climate change will stress water resources
  5. Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged
  6. Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge
  7. Threats to human health will increase
  8. Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses
  9. Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems
  10. Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today

If that’s not suitably scary enough for you, read the entry at, titled Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year — and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!. Now that’s a title! But click the link so you can see the images.

So get over whatever objections you have to the Waxman-Markey bill. It’s our best hope to actually do something significant and positive.

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