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Proposal on Global Warming

Immediate efforts to dramatically curb the harmful effects of global warming.should be given the highest priority. All necessary resources of the federal government (research, engineering, economic, planning, and diplomatic) must be made available for this initiative. We need a definitive and authoritative plan of action, adequately funded. As the choices will require great awareness and effort by the public, it will be necessary to launch an intensive and extensive educational campaign by the president, congress, political candidates, and the general public. Our goal is to persuade our country and the world that self-interest demands a cessation of those actions leading to global warming.

Discussion: The reason the effort has to be world-wide is that the U.S. produces about 22% of the world's CO2, which means the rest of the world produces 78%. The burning of coal and oil by China, India and other less advanced countries will be increasing exponentially. Therefore, much less of life on earth would be safe if CO2 emissions were reduced only in the U.S. Responsible action must be taken world-wide and the U.S. instead of resisting change, should become a model for change.

Scientists studying the climate agree that the average temperature of the earth is increasing as a direct result of the behavior of human beings. As we burn coal, oil, gasoline, and other carbon containing materials the CO2 emissions increase causing an increase in the greenhouse effect. The CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs much of the sun's rays reflected from the earth's surface, thus causing an increase in the temperature.

The warming is gradual but is unquestionably causing glaciers, snow peaks and polar ice caps to melt.This in turn is causing disturbances in weather patterns and the rising of sea levels. It is estimated that if the ice-caps of Greenland and Antarctica melt, the sea level around the world could rise 18 to 20 feet in the next 50 to 100 hundred years. Coastal areas and low lying countries would be inundated.

Although they are very concerned about global warming many experts, professional groups, industries, states, and other countries can envision a path to a more promising future. This is the good news. To achieve a more promising future we must have well organized and massive efforts in world politics, legislation, regulations, and scientific and engineering research and development. This will require a major change in the way the world uses energy.

Bringing our attention back to the U.S., we have a problem that is peculiar among the industrialized nations: The public at large along with some of the most important parts of government, religion, the media, and private industry are largely ignorant, passive, or subversive of the scientific basis for the increased heating of the planet. Many of these groups need to become educated in, focused on, energized, or confronted about what we, our children, and our grandchildren are facing. Therefore, we need to support and then hold to account candidates for elective office who pledge that if elected they will challenge those interests that are resisting the necessary action to save life on earth.

Contributed by a New York Society for Ethical Culture membership team.