Mikulski, Colleagues Urge President to Take Action on Global Warming - Southern Maryland Headline News

Mikulski, Colleagues Urge President to Take Action on Global Warming

"Where is President Bush? On the issue of global warming, it's been too little, too late"

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) joined a group of her Senate colleagues today in sending a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to support congressional action to reduce the effects of global warming. One year ago today, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing the need for a mandatory federal program to "slow, stop, and reverse" emissions that contribute to global warming.

"Where is President Bush? On the issue of global warming, it's been too little, too late," said Senator Mikulski. "The Senate is ready to take action to halt global warming. Our future depends on the progress we make."

The text of the letter is below:

Dear President Bush:

One year ago today, the Senate approved a resolution recognizing the need for a mandatory federal program to "slow, stop, and reverse" global warming emissions. Today, we are writing to express our continuing concern about the threats posed by global warming and our support for a mandatory program that would reduce emissions from today's levels within 10 years.

The early effects of global warming are evident worldwide:

--- Sea ice is retreating in the Arctic, with a 20 percent decline in end-of-summer sea ice cover in 2005 compared with the 1978-2000 average.

--- Only 27 glaciers remain in Glacier National Park, less than one fifth of the approximately 150 glaciers that existed within the park's current boundaries in 1850.

--- Spring snow melt in the Western U.S. is occurring up to four weeks earlier than it was in 1948, lowering stream levels during the dry summer months and exacerbating long-term water shortages in the region.

--- Sea level is rising more rapidly along the U.S. coast than worldwide. Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, among others, indicate that a one-foot rise in sea level is likely along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts by 2050.

--- Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that global warming claims the lives of 150,000 people each year.

In the last year, leading climate scientists have cautioned that the world may be warming more quickly than expected and with potentially more damaging long-term consequences, such as rising sea level due to the accelerating melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

In a recent federal report issued by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) entitled "Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences," Administration scientists highlighted two key findings. First, the CCSP found "studies to detect climate change and attribute its causes using patterns of observed temperature change in space and time show clear evidence of human influences on the climate system (due to changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols, and stratospheric ozone)." Second, the CCSP report found "The observed patterns of change over the past 50 years cannot be explained by natural processes alone, nor by the effects of short-lived atmospheric constituents (such as aerosols and tropospheric ozone) alone.

While decisive action to address global warming is critical to protect our children and future generations, it also is important to keep U.S. businesses competitive in a carbon-conscious global marketplace. Since we have not given them a clear signal to reduce global warming pollution, American businesses continue to make long-term capital investments that commit us to ever increasing global warming emissions. Our inaction has discouraged the deployment of existing technologies and development of new technologies to reduce emissions. New buildings, transportation systems, and power and industrial plants are being designed and built today without regard for the need to reduce global warming pollution. Meanwhile, foreign companies are advancing innovative designs and patents in photovoltaics, auto technology, wind, and efficient buildings.

The difficulty and cost of averting the environmental and economic effects posed by global warming increases with every year that the U.S. fails to implement a carbon emission policy. Leading U.S. scientists now warn that we must begin reducing global warming pollution from today's levels within 10 years in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Last year, the resolution passed by the Senate called on Congress to enact a national program of mandatory limits on global warming pollution that slows, stops, and reverses emissions. We believe we should begin acting now to reduce emissions from current levels within 10 years.

U.S. action on global warming is long overdue. As we consider legislation to address global warming, we urge you to provide leadership on this critical issue by supporting our effort.

Senator Mikulski is one of two federal senators for the state of Maryland. She is classified as a Class III Senator. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class-approximately one-third of the Senators-face election or reelection. Terms for Senators in Class I expire in 2007, Class II in 2009, and Class III in 2011.

Ms. Mikulski's website is located at http://mikulski.senate.gov/. Her office can be reached at (202) 224-4654. More biographical info on Ms. Mikulski can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Mikulski.

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