Friday, November 20, 2009

Tell Senate to Pass a Strong Climate Bill

As you may know, the US House of Representatives passed a climate bill in June, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). We've been nagging our Senators meanwhile to do likewise, and it's time to nag them again. Click here to find your Senator and call, write, or email urging them to pass the strongest climate legislation possible. Until both houses pass a bill and the President signs it, there can be little progress on an international treaty, which is why world leaders delayed expectations this week for a strong new treaty to reduce global warming to come out of the Copenhagen talks. Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer introduced a climate bill on Sept. 30 that we should support. It needs strengthening, as lucidly outlined by Margie Alt of the Huffington Post blog site. Alt points out that we could achieve a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 just by investing in energy efficiency, which costs less than we're spending on energy now! We need to do more than this, and there are lots of options other than turning to nuclear energy, which is very expensive and creates waste that's radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Nuclear energy and offshore oil drilling are both being discussed in the Senate. Drilling for oil and burning coal cause global warming, they don't solve it, although sequestering CO2 from fossil fuels is an interim solution. Call or write your Senators now to urge them to pass the strongest climate legislation possible without relying on nuclear or coal. If you're traveling for Thanksgiving, have safe travels and offset your travel with the programs at the very bottom of this page! I'll post again in 2 weeks.
Stay cool,

This Isn't About Climate, But It's Unbelievable

I have to take a moment to post this unbelievable bit of info that I found buried in a UNICEF report. They sent me a nice email about buying stuff for the holidays to support their programs (which is a fine idea, along with giving them money) and about tracking progress on child nutrition. I was intrigued by the statement that "80 percent of all chronically undernourished children are found in just 24 countries." After following a link, I came to this report on Tracking Progress on Child and Maternal Nutrition. On page 15, there's a world map that has a red circle on each country. The size of the red circle is proportional to the number of children in that country who are moderately to severely stunted because of hunger (they call it undernutrition now). But look--there's a pretty good-sized red circle on the U.S.! Now go to page 104. There's the top 24 countries in terms of numbers of stunted children. And look! The US is number 42 with not 714 children as I thought at first, but 714,000 children WHO ARE STUNTED BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT. This is 3% of all children under 5 in one of the richest countries in the world who are "below two standard deviations from median height for age of the WHO Child Growth Standards." We are doing only 2 percentage points better than Iran, the same as Ukraine, and worse than Chile and Croatia! TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Here's two cool ideas! Go to the appealing little site called and sign their petition for a climate treaty that is "definitive, equitable, and effective," and will set binding targets to cut greenhouse gases by 2020. The petition will be presented to world leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference Dec. 7-18. When you sign, you can write what gives you hope. If you put down your city, your comment will be put on a map. You can click anyplace on the map to see what gives someone from that place hope. Pretty cool!

Now that it's finally getting cooler, make sure your water heater is well insulated. That can save you money and save 1,000 pounds of CO2 a year! If your water heater is warm to the touch, it could use more insulation. You can get a pre-cut insulating jacket for your heater for $10-$20 and put it on yourself. If your heater is gas-fired, you need to pay a professional or follow directions carefully. Here's a site with more information.

Good luck, and write us!
Stay cool,

Friday, November 6, 2009

We can't be the problem, right? Wrong.

One final myth to discuss in this series (I'm always happy to address others at your request): Human CO2 emissions are tiny compared with natural sources, so they can't be important.

Fact: While it's true that natural sources give off much more CO2 than humans, plants and the oceans are currently absorbing even more CO2 than they give off. Click here for more on this. It's humans' use of fossil fuels that have thrown CO2 levels off balance, since fossil fuels have been buried for hundreds of millions of years and their carbon has been out of circulation. Right now, nature is saving us from more extreme climate change than we're currently experiencing, because the oceans and plants are absorbing excess CO2. However, we're still emitting CO2 faster than natural sources can absorb it, increasing the greenhouse effect and causing climate change.

I know there are people reading this blog! (Don't worry, I don't know who you are unless you've told me, and I certainly won't share your personal info.) But all of us reading would love to hear from you--your questions, your thoughts, your ideas about climate change and what we can do about it. Thanks so much for all your support!
Stay cool,