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Fight global warming - turn up the heat on senators

by Joy Kikuchi, Science & Environment editor

 

On Oct. 30, 2003, the U.S. Senate voted to reject the Climate Stewardship Act, 43 to 55. In the next few weeks, this act will again be voted on by the Senate, and will continue to be re-introduced in each congressional session until it passes.

The bipartisan Climate Stewardship Act, also known as CSA-S. 139, is sponsored by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman. It seeks to regulate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and encourages energy efficiency and renewable electricity generation. A similar bill was introduced in the House in 2003, H.R. 4067. It also proposed a cap on gas emissions, but would not be enacted until the year 2010. This bill will also be voted on this session.

One of the few people who do not support these bills is our president, George W. Bush, who instead advocates a “voluntary” plan which asks companies to control their own emissions. So far, it has failed. According to Greenpeace International’s Analysis of the Bush Climate Change Strategy which was released in February 2002, U.S. emissions are the highest in the world. Their study also shows that prior to Bush’s term, greenhouse gas emissions were on the decline.

According to a national Zogby poll done in October 2003, 75 percent of Americans support the Climate Stewardship Act. Many organizations have urged lawmakers to support this act as well. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) as well as numerous nonscientific organizations is urging voters to write and ask their senators to vote for the act. If you would like to see how your senator voted, there is a link on www.ucsusa.org. The Web site also contains helpful tips for consumers to reduce their contributions to global warming, information about the global warming phenomenon and the Climate Stewardship Act.

Global warming is a real and present danger to the environment and the human race. According to a study done by a United Nations-sanctioned panel of scientists is 2001, global warming has caused the sea level to rise and the melting of polar ice sheets. Also, the major hurricanes that have hit Florida recently are also results of global warming. As suggested in Kalamalama's April article on chaos theory (Vol. 28, No.6), these hurricanes are the direct result of human action. Like the proverbial butterfly that flapped its wings, just by driving your car to school, you have caused a devastating chain reaction which ultimately resulted in a hurricane.

Saving the environment is—and should be—a bipartisan effort according to numerous environmental agencies, and there is a lot that individuals can do to help. Election Day is coming; we must use our voting power to make a difference, not only as U.S. citizens, but as global citizens.

 

 

 

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