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Climate Change: How to Tackle the Most Pressing Challenge Facing Humanity
President Obama vowed action on climate change in his historic inaugural speech, warning that "the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations." Here's how to make the case for why and how we can tackle one the most pressing challenges facing humanity.
Lead with common sense and values. Our grandchildren will ask us what we did on climate change. What's our answer?
Connect: We see the weather getting weirder with our own eyes. We see more frequent and destructive droughts, floods, wildfires and storms.
Explain: There's no longer any doubt we have a serious problem. Climate disruption is happening right here, right now, and it's making weather disasters and record-breaking heat waves worse.
Analogize: The threat of climate change is accepted science. If 97 out of 100 engineers warned you to not drive on a crumbling bridge, would you still drive on it? If 97 out of 100 doctors warned you to not eat tainted food, would you still eat it?
Aspire: If we want to protect our kids and grandkids, we have to deal with climate change before it gets out of control. Anyone who doubts whether we're up to the task is ignoring what America is capable of.
Illustrate: American businesses are starting to use the amazing energy technologies that our engineers have developed—including panels that harness power from the sun and turbines that capture energy from the wind.
Lead: We need to speed up the use of these technologies and spur more innovation. America should be leading the world in clean energy solutions, not getting left behind by Europe and China.
Define the opposition and demand accountability. Oil companies are rigging the system against our energy future.
Connect: We see the problem and know the solution. So who's trying to stop us?
Define: Dirty energy companies are holding back progress to protect their profits.
Explain: Oil and coal companies pay off politicians to protect wasteful taxpayer subsidies and keep out the competition by blocking clean energy innovation.
Illustrate: They keep our political system rigged by spending millions to influence our elections, lobby politicians, and spread doubts about accepted science that hurts their bottom line.
Lead: It's time to break Big Oil's grip on Washington and put people instead of corporations back in charge of our democracy.
Values: Our grandchildren will ask us what we did on climate change. What's our answer?
What you need to know:
- In climate science, a single degree in temperature changes is an enormous deal. In fact, raising the temperature of the planet one degree Celsius requires about 5 exaJoules (5 with 18 zeros after it) of energy—or the entire energy consumption of the United States for 4 million years.
- 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S. ever—by a lot. Last year's temperature average demolished the previous record by a full degree Fahrenheit. (Remember that with people, even a few degrees increase in body temperature can kill a patient.)
- Last year, more than 34,000 high temperature records were set at weather stations across the country, or more than five times the number of record temperature lows (fewer than 6,700).
- Globally, the 10 warmest years on record all happened in the past 15 years. Nobody who is younger than 28 has ever experienced a colder-than-average month because the last such month was February 1985.
- Carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is the highest it's been in at least 650,000 years overall and at least 800,000 years in some regions.
- Climate change is accepted scientific consensus. Ninty-seven percent of scientists studying weather and climate agree that climate change is real, that it is happening here and now, and that it is caused by manmade industrial carbon pollution.
- Seeing is understanding—we see extreme weather events amplified by global warming all the time, like wildfires, record-breaking heat extremes, droughts and coastal flooding.
- Over the past three decades, weather disasters have caused more than $1 trillion in damage and 30,000 fatalities in North America.
- In addition to scientists, less obvious groups like undecided voters, business leaders, the insurance & risk management industry, former Congressional Republicans freed from re-election pressures and evangelicals are all urging our leaders in Washington to take action on climate change.
- Three-fourths of Americans understand that global warming is affecting weather in the U.S. and the majority understands that global warming is caused mostly by human activities.
- Nearly 90 percent of Americans agree the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."