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A Changing Climate. America’s Growing Response to Global Warming. Peter Rimbos South King County Group. The Sierra Club Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet. Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is America’s Oldest Grassroots Environmental Organization.

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a changing climate

A Changing Climate

America’s Growing Response to Global Warming

Peter Rimbos

South King County Group

the sierra club explore enjoy and protect the planet
The Sierra ClubExplore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
  • Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is America’s Oldest Grassroots Environmental Organization.
  • The Cascade Chapter covers the state of Washington.
  • The South King County Group covers King County south of I-90.
greenhouse gases
Greenhouse Gases

The Vast Majority of Greenhouses Gases Come From Burning Fossil Fuels like Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas

temperature rises as greenhouse gases increase
Temperature Rises as Greenhouse Gases Increase
  • There is a clear correlation between the level of atmospheric CO2 and temperature.
  • Current level of CO2 is outside bounds of natural variability and rate of change is unprecedented.
  • The Ten Hottest Years on Record Have All Occurred Since 1990.
global warming leadership
Global Warming & Leadership
  • Any Serious Effort in the United States to Reduce Global Warming Emissions Must Involve Reductions in Oil Consumption
  • As the world’s largest GHG emitter, US leadership could prod China and India to action.
the united states is the world s largest polluter

Top 10 Global Warming Polluters






thousand metric tons of carbon












North Korea

United States

United Kingdom

China (mainland)

The United States is the World’s Largest Polluter
u s global warming emissions
U.S. Global Warming Emissions

US Sources of greenhouse gas emissions in 2001.

Source: US Dept. of Transportation 2004

smart energy solutions to global warming
Smart Energy Solutions to Global Warming

Increasing Fuel Economy

Investing in Renewable Energy

Boosting Energy Efficiency

increasing fuel economy
Increasing Fuel Economy
  • Using Existing Technology, Higher Fuel Economy Standards Would:
    • Save 4 Million Barrels of Oil Per Day by 2020.
    • Reduce U.S. Global Warming Emissions by over 850 million tons of CO2 by 2020.
    • Save Consumers Over $16 billion dollars annually by 2020.
investing in clean energy
Investing in Clean Energy
  • Investing in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Would:
    • Avoid the Need for Over 1100 New and Existing Coal and Natural Gas Fired Power Plants
    • Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions 2/3rds from Business as Usual by 2020.
    • Save Consumers $440 billion by 2020
why is the u s starting to address global warming
Why is the U.S. Starting to Address Global Warming?
  • Undeniable Scientific Consensus
  • Global Warming Impacts Are Becoming More Noticeable and Wider Spread
  • Rising Energy Prices Are Hurting the American Economy
  • National Security and Energy Issues are Tied Together
scientific consensus on global warming
Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
  • "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal,
  • as is now evident from observations of
  • increases in global average air and ocean temperatures,
  • widespread melting of snow and ice,
  • and rising global mean sea level"
  • "...very high confidence that
  • the globally averaged net effect of human activities
  • since 1750 has been one of warming...”
  • --U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. February 2007

American Association for the Advancement of Science Statement on Climate Change

Approved by the AAAS Board of Directors---9 December 2006

“The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.”

“Delaying action to address climate change will increase the environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs.”

“It is time to muster the political will for concerted action. Stronger leadership at all levels is needed. The time is now. We must rise to the challenge. We owe this to future generations.”


Global Warming Impacts

  • Health
  • Weather-related mortality
  • Infectious diseases
  • Air-quality respiratory illnesses
  • Agriculture
  • Crop yields
  • Irrigation demands

Climate Changes

  • Forests
  • Change in forest composition
  • Shift geographic range of forests
  • Forest health and productivity



  • Water Resources
  • Changes in water supply
  • Water quality
  • Increased competition for water

Sea Level Rise

  • Coastal Areas
  • Erosion of beaches
  • Inundation of coastal lands
  • Costs to protect coastal communities
  • Species and Natural Areas
  • Shift in ecological zones
  • Loss of habitat and species

Source: EPA

new voices calling for action on global warming
New Voices Calling for Action on Global Warming
  • Corporate CEOs
  • Religious Leaders
  • Power Companies
  • Insurance Firms
  • Auto Manufacturers;
  • Wall Street Financial Firms
92% of Americans Say that They Are Worried About Dependence on Foreign Oil - Yale University Polling: June 9, 2005
state and local governments are taking action
State and Local Governments are Taking Action

In the Absence of Federal Action on Global Warming, State and Local Governments are Taking Action on Global Warming:

  • Cool Cities
  • Clean Cars
  • Clean Energy
eleven states nationwide follow california standards ca wa or me vt ma ct ri ny nj pa

Clean Cars Across the US

Eleven States Nationwide Follow California Standards

CA – WA – OR – ME – VT – MA - CT – RI – NY – NJ – PA

Accounting for 34% of All New Vehicles Sold in the U.S.

20 states have adopted renewable energy standards

Clean Energy Across the US

20 States Have Adopted Renewable Energy Standards

the road ahead
The Road Ahead

Congress is Beginning to Respond. Rep. Waxman Introduced Legislation that Caps Emissions in 2010 Before Requiring Annual Reductions. By 2050, Emissions Will Be 80% Lower Than In 1990.

The new Congress has begun to seriously address global warming.

The major Presidential candidates of both parties for 2008 have gone on record that the US must seriously address global warming.