On climate legislation, there's no time to lose

May 21, 2010

The National Academy of Science recently urged the federal government to take drastic action, such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade legislation, to slow global warming. Such legislation is currently pending in the U.S. Senate. The Senate bill provides for significant investment in clean transportation and renewable energy, as well as establishes a climate trading system.

So, why should we tackle this issue now? For starters, over 60 percent of all the carbon dioxide emitted by we humans has occurred since 1975. As a result, the last decade is the warmest globally on record, with the 12 months between April 2009 and March 2010 being the warmest 12 month period in at least 1,000 years. The oceans are warming as well, with ocean temperatures globally last summer being the warmest on record. Worse still, recent research reveals that the Antarctic is warming, and melting, faster than previously thought.

This issue isn't about Al Gore, and it's not about political parties. Last time I checked, Mother Earth was registered as an independent. We simply need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible as soon as possible. The time is now.

Chris Fox, Catonsville

The writer is a climate scientist at the International Center for Remote Sensing Education.

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