"The state of the nation's climate is poor, and the climate and ecosystems that depend upon it are showing increasing signs of disruption. Global climate change now threatens not only the environment, but also our national security, our economic stability, and our public health and safety. We can no longer discuss the State of the Union without assessing the state of the nation's climate."
Thus states the first "State of the Climate" assessment delivered to the White House on the eve of President Bush's "state of the nation" address. This assessment was prepared by the Presidential Climate Action Project and has been signed by many of the nation's scientific, political, business, and environmental leaders.
Warnings that mankind can irretrievably damage the earth's climate envelope are not new. They date to the 1860s at least. And now, after two decades of intense scientific research, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has unequivocally concluded that our consumption of fossil fuels has led us to the brink of global catastrophe.
Given the abdication of national leadership, 780 American mayors representing over 77 million citizens have signed a Climate Protection Agreement pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least to the level required by the Kyoto Protocol. A majority of states have followed. Corporate America is beginning to join this grassroots national commitment. But these positive developments are being overtaken by the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
The "State of the Climate" declaration urges ten steps that must be taken before the 44th president delivers the next state of the union address:
- Recognize that climate change transcends politics and partisanship;
- To reverse our catastrophic slide, accept that sacrifices will be required;
- Acknowledge that climate action requires a new national energy policy;
- Recognize that our national security is at stake with climate deterioration;
- Begin transition to a post-carbon economy. Opening new economic opportunities for all segments of society;
- Impliment concrete climate action at home to set the stage for engaging other nations;
- Break the hold of entrenched special interests over our climate policy;
- Make a major investment in federal earth sciences research;
- Evaluate products and energy supplies for climate impact over their lives;
- Recognize that climate change is the leadership issue of our times.
Please read the entire "State of the Climate" statement and add your name to those of the national leaders who have signed this document.
Our "State of the Climate" message concludes: "If this is our defining moment, then let us be known as people of courage, morality, vision and goodwill--a people who gladly accept the responsibility of ensuring that the America of tomorrow is even better than the America of today. That commitment to the future is required of us if we wish to keep faith with those who founded our nation, with those who have sacrificed for it and with those around the world who look the United States of America for hope."
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