Global warming is the most critical environmental problem facing our planet. Worldwide climate change, largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels, presents a grave threat to the Earth’s future. Already, Inuit peoples living in Arctic regions, as well as animal species such as polar bears, find their very existences threatened by excessive warming of their climate. Rising ocean levels caused by the melting of polar ice caps threaten to push our shorelines inward, threatening residents of coastal areas. Our nation has also witnesses intensified and more frequent hurricanes in recent years, which scientists claim is one of the expected effects of climate change.
Unfortunately, there are still people who refuse to believe the science. The opinion pages of our newspapers are littered with disinformation and misinformation disseminated by skeptics who refuse to acknowledge the extent of global warming. Many conservatives clearly don’t want to address the threat of global warming, because to do so would lead to increased environmental regulations and reduced corporate profits for the coal and oil industries. And the federal government has even gone so far so to place restrictions on what their climate, weather and marine scientists can say to the media or in public.
Two bills at the federal level, the Sanders-Boxer Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act (S. 309) and the Waxman Safe Climate Act (HR. 1590) seek to fight global warming by reducing emissions and promoting the use of clean, efficient, renewable energy sources.
You can help: write a letter to the editor of newspapers expressing your support for these critical pieces of legislation.
1. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspapers, asking readers to support legislation aimed at reducing global warming:
2. Urge your members of Congress to help stop global warming by supporting the Sanders-Boxer Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act (S. 309) and the Waxman Safe Climate Act (HR. 1590):
Good luck and hope to see you in print!
NJ Media Corps
NJ Media Corps
Robert Scardapane and Rhoda Coleman of NJ Media Corps also contributed to this action page.
Talking points for this assignment:
- The effects of global warming are already impacting our planet. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), "At continental, regional and ocean basin scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones." [IPCC]
- According to the IPCC, "Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture." [IPCC]
- Global warming is primarily caused by carbon dioxide and other air pollution, which collects in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun's heat and causing the planet to warm up. Coal-burning power plants are the largest U.S. source of carbon dioxide pollution; automobiles are the second largest source. [NRDC]
- "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 average sea level." [IPCC]
- Over the past 50 years the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. The 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1990. [NRDC]
- The United States is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions among the world's countries. Our nation produces 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning, even though we account for only 4% of the world's population. [NRDC]
- The Sanders-Boxer Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act (S. 309) would amend the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. [thomas.loc.gov]
- The Waxman Safe Climate Act (HR. 1590) would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect our climate. [thomas.loc.gov]
Sanders-Boxer Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act (S. 309)
Waxman Safe Climate Act (HR. 1590)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Established in 1988, the IPCC assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
Stop Global Warming Virtual March
Become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now.
Union of Concerned Scientists
The leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world.
Articles on this assignment:
Climate and Ocean Scientists Put Under New Speech Restraints
Any Scientific Statements "of Official Interest" Must be Pre-Approved
Climate Science 101
By Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, November 17, 2003
Global Warning: Get Up! Stand Up!
How to Build a Mass Movement to Halt Climate Change
Report outlines global warming's effects
The harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water.
'Smoking gun' on humans and global warming claimed
NASA-led scientists say ocean data ties manmade emissions to warmer Earth
Study: Earth is hottest now in 2,000 years; humans responsible for much of the warming
A panel of top climate scientists told lawmakers that the Earth is heating up and that "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."