Act now on global warming!

February 11, 1994

President Clinton is absolutely correct when he says we have "to meet head-on the serious threat of global warming." That is, as he notes, "perhaps the biggest environmental threat to this planet." Who today can doubt that?

The problem, as is certainly apparent to Marylanders, is that the earth's climate is getting much warmer. This is the result of the so-called "Greenhouse Effect." Many industries and other polluters keep pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This cannot escape, and in turn traps the heat from the sun in the atmosphere.

As a result, the earth's temperature rises inexorably. Summers are becoming intolerably hot. Winter weather in the temperate ,, zone, such as ours, is beginning to resemble spring and fall. Experts say urban areas are especially affected by the change in climate. Average temperatures in some cities have already risen by 18 degrees. Unless we act promptly to reverse the trend, before long February in Baltimore will seem like April in Georgia.

As the planet continues to overheat, even more drastic consequences can occur. Severe coastal flooding as the polar ice cap melts, for example. This could raise the sea level to the point that though it would soon be possible to take a sun-'n'-fun Valentine's Day vacation at Ocean City, there would be no Ocean City. As the Chesapeake Bay's water keeps warming up, the fate of rockfish and soft-shell clams is in peril.

Neither Maryland nor the nation nor the world can merely watch and dither and compromise as temperatures move inexorably upward. Would any of us today wish for a February without fields covered by a beautiful, pristine mantle of white snow? A January day without sidewalks glistening diamond-like under crystal-clear ice? Of course not. We're dreaming of a white Christmas.

There is a crying need for U.S. leadership on this problem. Thermometers rise higher and higher. We must not procrastinate. The Bush administration refused to join other developed nations in pledging to work and spend to keep the planet from overheating. Vice President Al Gore has rightly urged that the country take a new position and a leadership role. Let the call go out for a new international conference on global warming. From Chicago to Pittsburgh to Baltimore to New York to Boston, the American people are demanding it.

Today. Why wait? Do it now! It's too darn hot!

Phew! We feel a little better, having written that. We hope you do, having read it.

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