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Archive for the ‘Global Warming’ Category

Credit to Justin Wheeler in the Cornell Daily Sun:

So we’re told that the average American puts 20 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. But talking’s not enough.

We’re told about how our thirst for oil is contributing to habitat and species elimination, placing, at times, entire ecosystems in jeopardy. Not even close.

We’re told global warming is a reality, and that proactive change on the part of consumers will inhibit its consequences. It’s not enough.

For whatever reasons, this country lacks enthusiasm (real enthusiasm) over the idea of civic responsibility with respect to the global climate of … um … the global climate. Sure, it’s easy to change our incandescent bulbs to energy efficient fluorescents. And it’s not too hard to shut off the lights before leaving our rooms. But, alas, the trick to doing this dance right lies in the subtleties. As with everything, real change takes genuine effort.

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Credit to Wendy Wang in the Cornell Daily Sun:

In 2000, when former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was running for our nation’s highest office, his position on global warming would not have garnered him a Nobel Peace Prize — he was virtually silent on the issue. In 2008, this trend continues, as current presidential candidates rarely bring up science and technology policy problems. This lack of action prompted the beginning of ScienceDebate2008, a movement to invite the presidential candidates to debate on science and technology-related issues.

To correct the problem, President Skorton, along with other university presidents, science organizations, members of Congress, technology companies like Intel and 17,000 individual supporters, signed a petition to show support for the debate.

Although the presidential candidates have yet to respond to the debate’s invitation, the event is set for April 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

The debate comes amidst news of President Bush’s recent budget proposal for 2009. While increasing some funding for areas like the U.S. Department of Defense’s research and development, the proposal continued to cut funding for many critical departments that deal with science-related issues, like NASA’s science portfolio. Moreover, even though some departments like National Institutes of Health experienced no change in their budget, their budgets actually decreases when adjusted for inflation.

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Credit to Sylvester Johnson in The Ithaca Journal

On the day that Ithaca’s Common Council passed the resolution in support of a federal carbon tax The Journal published the guest column “Ithaca Common Council’s support for Carbon Tax questioned” by Paul V. Sheridan that argued against passage on the basis of skepticism of the science of climate change. This column responds.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported that human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases “very likely” are contributing to climate change. The inspiration for the studies leading to that report was the rough correlation between rises in human population, carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere and average global surface temperature over the last 150 years. Correlations do not show causation, but such observations can inspire hypotheses for further investigation.

The panel therefore compiled the results of many worldwide climate computer simulations. The simulations were run both with human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases and without, including only variations in natural climate forcing such as solar. Only with human-induced emissions did the results correlate roughly with the rise in average global surface temperature. The temperature has risen steeply enough in the last three decades to support strong statistical significance culminating in the statement that human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases “very likely” are contributing to climate change.

Now the debate has moved beyond the science to policy. Whether the next president is Republican or Democrat, legislation is likely to get enacted to reduce fossil fuel emissions, with the options being a federal carbon tax or emissions trading. The outcome of this Congressional debate will affect residents of Ithaca.

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Credit to Krisy Gashler in the Ithaca Journal (also see Cornell Daily Sun):

ITHACA — Common Council voted Wednesday to support a federal carbon tax, to build a new dock at Stewart Park, to revise the city’s comprehensive plan and to exempt a proposed Lakeview Mental Health residence from property taxes for 16 years. Council passed a resolution urging state and federal officials to pursue a federal carbon tax rather than emissions trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The resolution passed 9-0, with Alderwoman Nancy Schuler, D-4th, abstaining.Schuler said some clauses of the resolution were “really just too emphatic because we really don’t know.”

“I certainly support the concept but I had trouble with the 25 ‘whereases’ as a statement,” she said.

Sylvester Johnson, who is a member of the Climate Change Action Group of Central New York and largely wrote the resolution passed by Council, urged individuals who favor a carbon tax to visit his Web site: federalcarbontax.org.

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Credit to Adi Kochavi in the Cornell Daily Sun:

“Focus the Nation,” organized by environmental action groups KyotoNOW! and the Sustainability Hub, concluded yesterday after two days of teach-ins and panel discussions about global warming. The event was an attempt to increase awareness and campus advocacy.

According to the University, the two-day event consisted of four parts. The first part involved a webcast, “The Two Percent Solution,” which educated the audience about the necessity of a reduction in carbon dioxide levels. Viewers of the webcast were then able to participate in the second part of the event, an online poll called “Choose Your Future,” which allowed participants to vote for the best solution to reduce emissions.

The final two parts took place yesterday in many schools across the nation. Professors from various departments within the University joined professors from other colleges and spent 10 minutes of class time discussing global warming and the issues surrounding it.

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no_coal_200.pngAt the close of the Bali climate change negotiations, we are left again with the disappointment of the Bush administration and all the other climate criminals in Washington. These fossil-fuel-phillic people have slowed down negotiations, stripped key renewable energy provisions in the US energy bill, and pretty much told the rest of the world that they don’t care if global warming cripples their economies. Ted Glick, now in a climate emergency fast for over 100 days, recently said the truth about these climate criminals, and Gore made it clear at Bali that the world must move without the US for the moment. Of course, wonderful things are building on the ground in the US, but we’ll have to wait until 2009 to get seriously going on this issue in the US.

But we don’t have to stop here. We have to make 2008 bigger than 2007. So, to kickoff the year, I created a petition, with the help of peer organizers, for youth around the world to tell world leaders that we want, in 2008, mandates to get rid of coal use by 2020. Dr. James Hansen from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies has made it clear that we can’t continue burning coal if we can’t capture it, and that it must stop within the next decade, or else we risk runaway climate that will literally cook the planet. So, youth have to tell world leaders that we want exactly that. On January 1st, we need to send these leaders a strong message with international media on this Youth Call to End Coal by 2020!

To make this really big, we need 10,000-100,000 youth from around the world to sign the petition and get ready to do media work on January 1st about it in every major global warming polluter. So, what are you waiting for? Sign the petition now and tell your friends to do the same! Go!

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coral.jpgCredit to Susan Lang from the Cornell Chronicle:

If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth’s coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.

“It’s vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world’s carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystem,” said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) group that wrote the new study.

The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic, said co-author Harvell, which is triggering widespread coral disease and stifling coral growth toward “a tipping point for functional collapse.”

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