February 2009

The Antarctic is Warming February 5, 2009 : 10:26 AM

Previously, there was some uncertainty with regard to the rate of warming in areas of Antarctica outside of the Antarctic Peninsula and west Antarctic. In fact, some claimed that East Antarctica—the largest part of the frozen continent was actually cooling.

However, a report published last week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature by climatologists Eric J. Steig and Drew Shindell using satellite observations over the entire continent combined "with evidence from more than 100 manned and unmanned weather stations both inland and along the continent's coasts to determine climate trends for the past 50 years" came to a very clear conclusion.

The data they uncovered demonstrated that all of Antarctica -- including East Antarctica has been warming since 1957. In addition, it made clear that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is warming more extensively and rapidly than we though.

Two new studies, one which has come out in Geophysical Research Letters in January and the other which was accepted by the journal Climate Dynamics in November 2008 reached essentially the same finding.

So it's clear now that all seven continents are manifesting the impact of the global climate crisis. As a result, our sense of urgency must increase yet again as we work to build the political will necessary to solve this rapidly worsening planetary emergency.


Congress February 6, 2009 : 3:18 PM

I am grateful to Senator John Kerry and Senator Richard Lugar for inviting me to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week on the climate crisis. It was an incredibly interesting exchange of ideas.

In my testimony I said:

"I urge this Congress to quickly pass the entirety of President Obama’s Recovery package. The plan’s unprecedented and critical investments in four key areas – energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy grid and the move to clean cars – represent an important down payment and are long overdue. These crucial investments will create millions of new jobs and hasten our economic recovery – while strengthening our national security and beginning to solve the climate crisis.

Quickly building our capacity to generate clean electricity will lay the groundwork for the next major step needed: placing a price on carbon. If Congress acts right away to pass President Obama's Recovery package and then takes decisive action this year to institute a cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions – as many of our states and many other countries have already done – the United States will regain its credibility and enter the Copenhagen treaty talks with a renewed authority to lead the world in shaping a fair and effective treaty. And this treaty must be negotiated this year. Not next year. This year."

You can watch read testimony in its entirety by clicking here.


Environmental Health News and Daily Climate February 17, 2009 : 10:17 AM

Since the launch of AlGore.com, Environmental Health News and DailyClimate.org have provided a free news feed in the "Climate Change News" section on the home page. They provide a wonderful service, compiling top stories about the climate crisis, solutions, the consequences, politics, the future of coal, and even faith and the environment. They've re-launched their homepage. It's worth the click.