"For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us." –Astronaut Donald Williams
The Center for American Progress has written a terrific piece summarizing a recent study co-authored by Tufts University and Friends of the Earth which analyzed over 100 academic articles on climate change and demonstrates that a 2°C (or 3.6°F) temperature increase will cost the global economy over 20 trillion dollars. The whole article needs to be read in its entirety, but I want to highlight what I consider to be the most important paragraphs:
The United States generates 25 percent of global warming emissions and is therefore in a unique position to utilize existing technology to save trillions of dollars and begin curbing the effects of global warming. Scientists currently predict nearing a two degree global temperature increase within the next 25 years, which could lead to decreased crop yields, water shortages, and diminished economic growth in developing countries.
The Earth’s temperature has already increased 1.5°F degrees over the last century, leading to rising sea levels, a decrease in snow coverage, the retreat of glaciers and sea ice, and an increase of droughts. Yet the Bush administration actively denies the problem, even stripping the 2005 energy bill of language affirming the science of climate change.
States are stepping up to the plate in the face of government inaction. Twenty-two states have enacted Renewable Portfolio Standards that require electric utilities to generate a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources. And in September, California became the first state to adopt a mandatory 25 percent cut in emissions causing global warming by 2020.
Businesses have also been acting on the knowledge that the Tufts University study confirms: inaction will likely be far more costly than the price of reducing emissions now. Insurance industry experts calculate that their losses for hurricanes alone will increase by 45 percent if global warming persists. Industry giants like DuPont and BP have been able to significantly cut their emissions within ten years, and numerous studies predict that this trend will create many new industries and jobs.
The Environmental Defense Action Fund has put together a website which encourages citizens to find out where their elected federal Representatives stand on global warming. Politicians need to learn that climate change matters to everyone, especially with the people who politicians are most interested in–voters.