How Can I Cool It?
Public Citizen's Congress Watch Director Laura MacCleery invites you to send her questions about what you and other individuals can do about global warming. We'll post select letters and her answers.
Congress Watch Director
An Inconvenient Truth is one of the most exciting and frightening films I have seen this year! It carefully lays out the scientific case for global warming, mingling this story with personal anecdotes from the life of the man who, as he says "used to be the next President of the United States," Al Gore. The film shows how the industry has skewed the science, manufacturing uncertainty about the phenomenon of global warming, with potentially dire consequences for the planet. The film is a call to action for citizens to act now to prevent further harm from a global meltdown.
Tell Congress to Reduce U.S. Gas Consumption by Raising the Fuel Economy Standard for Cars
Dear Laura: Have scientists even a guess as to the percentage of greenhouse gases caused by WARS, as in global WARming? How do warring activities contribute to global warming?
Laura: To date, I do not believe any formal studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of war on global warming, however war undoubtedly has some effect on the use of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.
We do know that the greatest contributors to greenhouse gases worldwide are transportation and industrial sources, and the United States is the single greatest producer of greenhouse gases in the world.
One way the United States can begin to cut the abysmally high rate of greenhouse gas emissions is to set higher fuel economy standards for vehicles, which release a staggering 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Improving fuel economy standards would lower vehicle emissions and lessen the effects of global warming. Click here to visit Public Citizen’s fuel economy page.
Dear Laura: Back in the 70’s the Club of Rome issued a warning about a coming new ice age. What happened in the meantime to change that?
Laura: The early 1970s theory supporting the coming of a new ice age was based on global temperature estimates showing that after many decades of global warming the earth appeared to experience a cooling trend between 1945 and the early-1970s. This theory fell out of favor when the trend ended in the mid-1970s and temperatures again began to rise.
It was during the 1970s that the scientific community began studying the effects of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and predictions of global warming were first made. The vast majority of the world’s scientists now agree that global warming is occurring and that it is predominantly caused by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of forested land.
Dear Laura: Why doesn't the government regulate cars and trucks that spew fumes by utilizing "road sensors" that detect pollution. One car burning oil is equivalent to 20 cars. This technology is available today but is not being utilized. In NYC we have cabs, car service cars, etc. that run 24/7; many of these cars (especially cars service cars) are in terrible running condition and spew disgusting fumes, yet they are allowed to run 24/7 without penalty. This is something that can be done immediately to get these cars off the road. Also, there should be a separate policy for these cars so that they meet the highest standards.
Laura: The Clean Air Act of 1970 requires all new cars to meet emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however some states are taking further steps to control vehicle emissions.
In California, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) has set standards requiring new cars to emit 30 percent less carbon dioxide, 20 percent fewer toxic pollutants, and 15 to 20 percent fewer smog-causing pollutants as measured against the federal standards. Auto manufacturers are fighting these reasonable emissions regulations in court.
Find out how you can cool it, send Laura a letter now.