Remember that thing called “Climate Change?”

Posted on May 5, 2011. Filed under: Gary's Blog | Tags: , , , , , |

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Speaking at Climate Gala in DC

Climate change has seemingly fallen off the face of the Earth in the public arena as of late. Climate deniers seem to be on the rise, and the media/political world is more interested in talking about deficits, jobs, foreign affairs, and of course, birth certificates (long form or otherwise). But despite our best effort at sticking our head in the sand and hoping it goes away, the ugly facts of the science behind climate change keep coming back to remind us that we have no time to lose in finding a solution.

A new study by a team of scientists for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) says arctic sea ice melt is much worse than previously thought and significant rising sea levels are coming in our children’s lifetime.  They conclude we could see as much as a 5.2 foot rise in sea levels by the end of this century, more than double the previous estimate of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Think of what that would do to Maryland’s beaches, coastline, and the islands in the Bay (ie. Smith Island).

The report notes that the increase in annual average temperature in the Arctic since 1980 has been twice as high as the rest of the world. In fact, it points out that the past six years have been the hottest ever recorded in the Arctic.

A separate report led by an American scientist from NASA corroborates these findings. It projects sea level rise of 13 inches in the near term.

While Congress may be in denial, not everyone inside the Beltway is so clueless.  I had the pleasure of attending the Climate Gala this week in DC, sponsored by Earth Day Network, the Carbon War Room, and ACORE. Prominent speakers from different walks of life all echoed the message that we need to act immediately to dramatically cut carbon emissions and spark a clean energy revolution. Perhaps most impressive was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He listed all the significant achievements the City of Angeles has reached under his watch, including a major turn towards renewable energy. But he also made a strong case for the economic and business reasons for reducing carbon emissions. Likewise, José María Figueres, former President of Costa Rica, discussed how he positioned his small nation to be a world leader in eco tourism not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes economic sense. In fact, he said that Cost Rica’s extremely high use of renewable energy (he said it was more than 90%) has put the country in a great position now with respect to the rise in costs of fossil fuels.

So goes another week in the carbon war. The science is screaming loud and clear. Dynamic leaders are proving what can be done. And still Congress and the mainstream media dither.

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