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Nov 20, 2005

Focus:Environment
Action Request:Visit - online
Location:United States

About Stop Global Warming

The Stop Global Warming Virtual March on Washington is a non-political effort to bring all Americans together in one place, proving there is a vast consensus that global warming is here now and it is time for our country to start addressing it. With the support of leading scientists, political and religious leaders, prominent Americans and concerned citizens, the Virtual March on Washington will move across the United States via the Internet from one town to the next, showing the evidence of global warming's alarming affects, and highlighting real people's concerns and real solutions along the way.

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The first step is to join stopglobalwarming.org!

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Posted: Sunday November 20, 2005, 7:04 pm
Tags: actionalert stopglobalwarming [add/edit tags]

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Francisca H. (60)
Sunday November 20, 2005, 7:15 pm
What is Global Warming?

We exist on this planet because the earth naturally traps just enough heat in the atmosphere to keep the temperature within a very narrow range - which creates the conditions that give us breathable air, clean water, and weather we can survive. Human beings have begun to tip that balance. We've overloaded the atmosphere with heat- trapping gasses from our cars and factories and power plants. If we don't start fixing the problem - right now - there will be devastating changes to our environment. We will experience extreme temperatures, rises in sea levels, and storms of unimaginable destructive fury. We will make this planet uninhabitable.

Recently, alarming events that are consistent with scientific predictions about the effects of climate change have become more and more commonplace.
Environmental Destruction

The massive ice sheets in the Arctic are melting at alarming rates. This is causing the oceans to rise. That is how big these ice sheets are! Most of the world’s population lives on or near the coasts. Rising ocean levels, an estimated six feet over the next 100 years will cause massive devastation and economic catastrophe to population centers worldwide.
Health Risks

Malaria. Dengue Fever. Encephalitis. These names are not usually heard in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices in the United States. But if we don’t act to curb global warming, they will be. As temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents spread, infecting people in their wake. Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have linked recent U.S. outbreaks of dengue ('breakbone') fever, malaria, hantavirus and other diseases to climate change.
Catastrophic Weather

Super powerful hurricanes, fueled by warmer ocean temperatures are the ‘smoking-gun’ of global warming. Since 1970, the number of category 4 and 5 events has risen sharply. Hurricane Katrina, in September of 2005 almost became a category 6 event. Human activities are adding an alarming amount of pollution to the earth’s atmosphere causing catastrophic shifts in weather patterns. These shifts will cause severe heat, floods and worse.
Here are things we can all do:

Join StopGlobalWarming.org. Together our voices will be heard!

Action items - things you can do to help stop global warming.

The United States, with only four percent of the world's population, is responsible for 22% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Here are things we can all do:
Repair leaks in your plumbing.

This can save 20 gallons per day in most cases.

Click here for more action items.

A rapid transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources will combat global warming, protect human health, create new jobs, protect habitat and wildlife, and ensure a secure, affordable energy future.

Energy: Use renewable energy sources and reduce the amount of energy we consume.

Air: Increase fuel efficiency standards. Cap the CO2 emissions from power plants. Shift investment to renewable energy sources.

Water: Use less energy by using less water.

Francisca H. (60)
Wednesday December 7, 2005, 7:34 am

Report Says 2005 Will Be Warmest, Stormiest Year on Record, Likely Due to Global Warming

December 07, 2005 — By Phil Couvrette, Associated Press

MONTREAL — This year is likely to go down as the hottest, stormiest and driest ever on Planet Earth, making a strong case for the urgent need to combat global warming, said a report released Tuesday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

The report by the international environmental group WWF said 2005 is shaping up as the worst ever for extreme weather, with the hottest temperatures, most Arctic melting, worst Atlantic hurricane season and warmest Caribbean waters. It's also been the driest year for many decades in the Amazon, where a drought may surpass anything in the past century.

The report used data from U.S. government sources and the World Meteorological Organization. It was released on the sidelines of the U.N. conference reviewing and upgrading the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that commits 35 industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions more than 5 percent by 2012.

Kyoto targets carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases blamed for rising global temperatures and disrupted weather patterns. Many scientists believe that if the temperatures continue to rise, deadly extreme weather will continue to kill humans, disrupt lifestyles and render some animal species extinct.

In October this year, the report noted, NASA reported that the global average temperature was already 0.1 Fahrenheit warmer than in 1998, the record year.

Lara Hansen, chief scientist for WWF's Climate Change Program, said there was more at play than the cyclical patterns explaining the number of hurricanes this year.

"There is a cyclical signature to hurricanes, but what were seeing now is even beyond what that cyclical nature would lead us to believe has happened," Hansen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Washington. She pointed to the failure of the National Hurricane Center to predict how many hurricanes there would be in 2005.

Last year, the hurricane center predicted 18 to 21 storms, but so many were recorded that the official naming of them exceeded the Roman alphabet and had to be supplemented with letters of the Greek alphabet.

Waters in the Caribbean were also hotter for a longer period of time than previously measured, causing extensive bleaching from Colombia to the Florida Keys, she said.

Consequences also are being felt up North, where the smallest area of Arctic sea ice ever was recorded in September -- 500,000 square miles (1295,000 square kilometers) smaller than the historic average -- and a 9.8 percent decline, per decade, of perennial sea ice cover, the report said.

The numbers echo concerns of Canada's Inuit, who in their own report issued last week observed eroding shorelines, thinning ice and losses of hunting and polar bears, all having a major impact on their lives.

Hansen said some predictions indicate that the Arctic North could become ice-free by the end of the century, even possibly by mid-century.

"The rate at which we are losing sea ice goes beyond the normal models of what we would think would be happening," she said.

With so many environmental flash points, Hansen said the world must accept the urgency of preventing global warming, despite the lack of leadership from Washington.

"The most impact, the most quickly, with the longest guarantee of success is reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuel," she said.

The United States, which produces one-fourth of the world's pollution, has refused to join the Kyoto Protocol, resisting any binding commitments to curb global warming by capping industrial emissions of greenhouse gases, saying it would harm the U.S economy.

U.S. President George W. Bush instead has called for an 18 percent reduction in the U.S. growth rate of greenhouse gases by 2012 and commits about US$5 billion (euro4.3 billion) a year to global warming science and technology.

Source: Associated Press

Francisca H. (60)
Wednesday December 28, 2005, 2:20 am
Environmental Security in a Post-Tsunami World -- A Guest Commentary

December 27, 2005 — By Chris Haila, WWF

It’s been a tough year of natural disasters. Since last year’s Sumatran earthquake and subsequent tsunami wreaked havoc on Asia and parts of east Africa, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing millions from their homes, we have seen the likes of Hurricane Katrina in the southern states of the U.S., as well as heavy floods in Europe, extensive forest fires in Spain and Portugal, and mega-earthquakes in Indonesia and Pakistan.

The human dimensions of these tragedies cannot be underplayed and the economic costs are still being calculated. But is there anything we could have done to soften these blows?

At first sight it would seem nothing, that the destructive power of nature can be so overwhelming it renders us helpless. However, investigations following the Tsunami disaster showed that, for those places away from the epicenter, an intact, stable and resilient environment provided a vital cushion to mitigate the impact of the waves. In fact, forceful impact and flooding was prevented by intact mangroves in Thailand, vegetated sand dunes in Sri Lanka, and fringing reefs around many of the Indian Ocean’s low-lying islands. On the other hand, places where coastal defenses had been degraded by human activities, such as shrimp farming or coral mining, damage and loss of life and property were much greater.

Such findings drive home to us the importance of maintaining, and more importantly now, restoring the integrity of the planet for our survival.

Climate change is perhaps one of the greatest threats to our survival. In 2005, we finally saw the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the first real international instrument to tackle climate change through the collective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Many governments, unfortunately, are reluctant to come to grips with the global climatic changes we are facing. Too often we hear from countries that we can't afford the costs incurred by potential threats. But, we should be turning the argument on its head and asking “can we not afford” to take such threats seriously?

The United Nations took the threat seriously enough to establish a high-level panel on challenges to global threats and security, concluding that environmental degradation has enhanced the destructive potential of natural disasters and in some cases hastened their occurrence, and that biological security must be at the forefront of protection. But, the panel’s report ducked real recommendations about what to do.

The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment — compiled by more than 1,300 of the best scientists and analysts from 95 countries — also concluded that human activity is putting such strain on the earth’s natural functions that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted. But this assessment barely raised eyebrows in the international community. More disconcerting, the UN-hosted World Summit this past September barely touched on environmental security with the agenda only giving climate change a passing mention over the more central themes of poverty and security.

Yet the traditional models to deal with poverty and security — mainly unbridled economic growth for one and strengthened military power for the other, are the approaches which have failed us for decades, and can never succeed unless based upon a safe and secure environment.

Where was security when the floodwaters wrecked New Orleans? We thought we had the engineering prowess to build a city on a silt-based river delta, interrupting the natural deposition cycle and lulling hundreds of thousands of people into the false sense of security that it was okay to live next to and below sea-level. Couple that with extracting oil and gas from below the delta and add to it years of draining the natural wetlands and coastal marshes, it was a recipe for disaster.

Ironically, we knew all that, but a 1998 programme to restore Louisiana’s coastal marsh system was never adopted. Why? The US$14 billion price-tag put people off. However that cost now seems like a good deal compared to the US$125 billion of damages resulting from Katrina, the US$50 billion to repair New Orleans, and the 1,000-plus lives lost in which no price tag can be attached.

But Katrina was a hurricane, one of many in a season where we ran out of names for them. Scientists are reluctant to come out and state definitively that the extreme 2005 hurricane season is a result of global warming. This is a pity because we know that climate change is giving us more extreme weather events. By the time enough scientific data has accumulated for scientists to state with confidence that climate change is to blame, we may have experienced many more Katrinas.

To best mitigate future extreme events, we as an international community will have to start making more strategic and cautious decisions, and stop taking foolish risks with the life support system that we all depend upon. A stable, sound environment will not guarantee safety in the wake of colossal natural disasters — like the Asian tsunami or American hurricane — but the evidence is there before us that it reduces the risks. The evidence is also there that our aspirations for the future cannot be met unless we start to tread more gently upon the thin crust of the sphere upon which our lives depend, and take better care of the atmosphere that sustains us.

Dr. Chris Hails is Conservation Programme Director at WWF International, based in Gland, Switzerland.

Source: WWF International

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Francisca H.
female , single
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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