Facts

Carbon dioxide levels have now passed 390 parts per million in our atmosphere, up more than 20% over the last 50 years – to the highest level in human history. They are increasing by 2 to 3 parts per million every year. Most international scientists and scientific organizations see this is a threat to our future.

In 2007, in a report entitled “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” the Military Advisory Board for CNA, a not-for-profit research and analysis organization, comprised of 11 retired three-star and four-star admirals and generals found that “climate change, national security, and energy dependence are a related set of global challenges” and called climate change a “threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions in the world” because of extreme weather events and mass migration of people. It recommended that the United States “should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate change at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.” (www.cna.org/report/climate).

The Business Environmental Leadership Council of C2ES (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions), the largest U.S.-based association of companies committed to advancing both policy and business solutions to climate change, states on its web site (c2es.org/business/belc) that “We accept the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that the impacts are already being felt. Delaying action will increase both the risks and the costs.” The Council includes more than 40 mainly Fortune 500 companies such as Alcoa, GE, Dow, Dupont, Johnson Controls, and General Motors.

In 2009, the American Red Cross calculated that the average number of people affected by climate-related disasters had grown to 243 million people annually. “Climate change has a human face – it is increasing the disaster risks for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “Those suffering the most come from the poorest communities; they lack the resources needed to cope with the rapidly changing climate patterns and can’t afford to lose or replace what little they have.”

In February, 2011, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops called for “urgent action” to address the growing impact that climate change is having on the world’s poor and vulnerable. Saying, “the impacts of climate change are making the lives of the world’s poorest even more precarious.”

In May, 2011, a National Research Council committee reported in America’s Climate Choices that there is a “pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare to adapt to its impacts.”

As far back as 1987, President Reagan signed the Montreal Protocol to begin regulating ozone-depleting gases to protect the global environment from further damage to the ozone layer. The first President Bush strengthened that agreement and also signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.

Are we listening?

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