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America’s Growing Response to Global Warming

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Presentation on theme: "America’s Growing Response to Global Warming"— Presentation transcript:

1 America’s Growing Response to Global Warming
A Changing Climate America’s Growing Response to Global Warming Peter Rimbos South King County Group

2 The Sierra Club Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is America’s Oldest Grassroots Environmental Organization. The Cascade Chapter covers the state of Washington. The South King County Group covers King County south of I-90.

3 The Earth’s Climate

4 Greenhouse Gases The Vast Majority of Greenhouses Gases Come From Burning Fossil Fuels like Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas

5 Temperature Rises as Greenhouse Gases Increase
There is a clear correlation between the level of atmospheric CO2 and temperature. Current level of CO2 is outside bounds of natural variability and rate of change is unprecedented. The Ten Hottest Years on Record Have All Occurred Since 1990.

6 Climate Change Timeline
60 Million Yr Ago Atmospheric CO2 levels jump to ~8 to 10 times present-day levels. Large-scale burial of the surplus carbon through swamps; Coal forms. 11,500 Yr Ago The last Ice Age ends. 1750 Industrial Revolution begins &we start to burn stored fossil fuels. 1827 Fourier suggests existence of an atmospheric effect keeping Earth warmer than it would otherwise be; uses greenhouse analogy. 1863 Tyndall publishes paper describing how water vapor can be a greenhouse gas. 1890s Arrhenius and Chamberlain independently realize burning of fossil fuels could lead to global warming, but neither suspect it has started. 1890s to 1940 Average surface air temperatures increase by about 0.25 °C (0.45 °F). Some scientists see American Dust Bowl as a sign of the greenhouse effect at work. 1957 Revelle warns we’re conducting a "large-scale geophysical experiment" on the planet by releasing greenhouse gases. Keeling sets up first continuous monitoring of atmospheric CO2 levels and finds regular year-on-year rise.

7 Climate Change Timeline (2)
1970s Series of studies by US DOE increases concerns about future global warming. 1979 First World Climate Conference calls on governments "to foresee and prevent potential man-made changes in climate“. 1985 First major international conference warns that greenhouse gases will "in the first half of the next century, cause a rise of global mean temperature which is greater than any in man's history". 1988 UN sets up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to analyze and report on scientific findings. 1990 The first report of the IPCC finds that the planet has warmed by 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) in the past century. IPCC warns that only strong measures to halt rising greenhouse gas emissions will prevent serious global warming 1992 Climate Change Convention, signed by 154 nations, agrees to prevent "dangerous" warming from greenhouse gases. Sets initial target of reducing emissions from industrialized countries to 1990 levels by the year 2000. 1997 Kyoto Protocol agrees legally binding emissions cuts for industrialized nations, averaging 5.4 %, to be met by 2010. 2005 Kyoto treaty goes into effect, signed by major industrial nations except US and Australia.

8 Global Warming & Leadership
Any Serious Effort in the United States to Reduce Global Warming Emissions Must Involve Reductions in Oil Consumption As the world’s largest GHG emitter, US leadership could prod China and India to action.

9 The United States is the World’s Largest Polluter
Top 10 Global Warming Polluters 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 1,400,000 1,600,000 1,800,000 United States China (mainland) Russia Japan India Germany United Kingdom Canada Italy North Korea thousand metric tons of carbon

10 U.S. Global Warming Emissions
US Sources of greenhouse gas emissions in 2001. Source: US Dept. of Transportation 2004

11 Smart Energy Solutions to Global Warming
Increasing Fuel Economy Investing in Renewable Energy Boosting Energy Efficiency

12 Increasing Fuel Economy
Using Existing Technology, Higher Fuel Economy Standards Would: Save 4 Million Barrels of Oil Per Day by 2020. Reduce U.S. Global Warming Emissions by over 850 million tons of CO2 by 2020. Save Consumers Over $16 billion dollars annually by 2020.

13 Investing in Clean Energy
Investing in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Would: Avoid the Need for Over 1100 New and Existing Coal and Natural Gas Fired Power Plants Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions 2/3rds from Business as Usual by 2020. Save Consumers $440 billion by 2020

14 Why is the U.S. Starting to Address Global Warming?
Undeniable Scientific Consensus Global Warming Impacts Are Becoming More Noticeable and Wider Spread Rising Energy Prices Are Hurting the American Economy National Security and Energy Issues are Tied Together

15 Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level" "...very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming...” --U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. February 2007

16 Approved by the AAAS Board of Directors---9 December 2006
American Association for the Advancement of Science Statement on Climate Change Approved by the AAAS Board of Directors---9 December 2006 “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.” “Delaying action to address climate change will increase the environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs.” “It is time to muster the political will for concerted action. Stronger leadership at all levels is needed. The time is now. We must rise to the challenge. We owe this to future generations.”

17 Global Warming Impacts
Health Weather-related mortality Infectious diseases Air-quality respiratory illnesses Agriculture Crop yields Irrigation demands Climate Changes Forests Change in forest composition Shift geographic range of forests Forest health and productivity Temperature Precipitation Water Resources Changes in water supply Water quality Increased competition for water Climate Change Impacts Over the past few decades, Scientists have observed changes in temperature, precipitation patterns, and sea-level rise and are projecting wide-ranging and some potentially devastating impacts on the natural environment and human societies. Our health, agriculture, forests, water resources, coastal areas, and species and natural areas are all vulnerable to the projected climate changes. For a small degree of warming, there is a mix of benefits and harms, however; the harms increase dramatically for the higher projected temperature increases. The following series of slides demonstrate some of the changes that have already begun to occur. Sea Level Rise Coastal Areas Erosion of beaches Inundation of coastal lands Costs to protect coastal communities Species and Natural Areas Shift in ecological zones Loss of habitat and species Source: EPA

18 Since 1979, 20% of the Polar Ice Cap Has Melted Away
Reduction of Polar Ice Cap -- Striking Examples of Climate Change In recent years global temperatures began rising at an unprecedented rate and, especially at the poles, things seemed to be melting in a way that they never had before. This dramatic illustration taken from NASA satellite images shows just how substantial the melting from global warming has been. Since 1979, 20% of the polar icecap has melted away.

19 New Voices Calling for Action on Global Warming
Corporate CEOs Religious Leaders Power Companies Insurance Firms Auto Manufacturers; Wall Street Financial Firms

20 92% of Americans Say that They Are Worried About Dependence on Foreign Oil - Yale University Polling: June 9, 2005

21 State and Local Governments are Taking Action
In the Absence of Federal Action on Global Warming, State and Local Governments are Taking Action on Global Warming: Cool Cities Clean Cars Clean Energy


23 Clean Cars Across the US
Eleven States Nationwide Follow California Standards CA – WA – OR – ME – VT – MA - CT – RI – NY – NJ – PA Accounting for 34% of All New Vehicles Sold in the U.S.

24 20 States Have Adopted Renewable Energy Standards
Clean Energy Across the US 20 States Have Adopted Renewable Energy Standards

25 The Road Ahead Congress is Beginning to Respond. Rep. Waxman Introduced Legislation that Caps Emissions in 2010 Before Requiring Annual Reductions. By 2050, Emissions Will Be 80% Lower Than In 1990. The new Congress has begun to seriously address global warming. The major Presidential candidates of both parties for 2008 have gone on record that the US must seriously address global warming.


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