Everyone talks about the weather and no one can do anything about it. Right? Wrong. Human activity has sharply increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, dramatically affecting our weather.
The effects of climate change are already being felt in the U.S. and around the world in the form of not only extreme weather, but encroaching disease, water shortages, acidifying oceans, species loss and increasing atmospheric temperatures.
The scientific consensus is that climate change is caused by increases in concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activity. That's right. We are helping to create our own bad weather.
Science has determined that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide before the industrial revolution was 275 parts per million. Today it is about 394.
While we may already be past a tipping point, if we set a limit on concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now, there is a chance we can soften the negative effects of global climate change.
Let's look at the evidence: The amount of reflective surface area on the Earth, now provided primarily by ice and snow, is lessening. Geological deposits with gigatons of methane, which has well over 15 times the warming capacity of carbon dioxide, are being released from permafrost and from the bottom of the ocean. There is a growing acidification of the ocean and a loss of forest cover due to deforestation and forest fires. This hinders the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
These conditions challenge our resolve as a people. We simply must set aside all partisan, philosophical and economic differences in a great movement to save our planet for ourselves and for future generations.
Accordingly, and consistent with the best science available, I will submit to Congress a resolution which will help promote national, economic and environmental security by the adoption of a target of 350 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It will be a yardstick by which to evaluate domestic and international climate change policies. Our nation should develop domestic and international energy and environmental policies that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate advancing science, tipping points and apparent changes in weather which now threaten life, the environment, property, the economy and our infrastructure.
It is time to unite to save our nation and our planet.