Top 5 Reasons Why the Senate Must Act

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Operation Climate Vote

This post is part of a series on the work of the Environmental Defense Action Fund to enact an effective climate law. You can help by writing to Congress.

The Senate is set to vote on landmark global warming legislation in early June – just a few short weeks away. Here are our top five reasons why they must act now.

  1. Every year we wait means extra effort. If we delay this bill by just two years, we’ll have to make twice the annual cuts in carbon emissions to hit the same cumulative reductions by 2020.
  2. The science is unforgiving. As the Earth warms, we approach a "tipping point", after which large destructive climate changes become inevitable.
  3. The political opportunity is ripe. Seventy-nine percent of Americans want Congress to act on global warming. We should take advantage of the tremendous momentum that exists today. It would be a mistake to miss the opportunity to pass a good law in the hope we could have a more perfect one in the future.
  4. It’s in our economic interest. Someone is going to win the global race to develop the low-carbon technologies we need. We’d like it to be America. Renewable energy, for example, promises to become one of the world’s most profitable industries. But advances in low-carbon technologies will not be fully realized without a national cap on global warming pollution. The sooner we act, the sooner these new industries will start to flourish.
  5. What legacy will the 110th Congress leave? When future generations look back at this moment, they will either praise the Senate for starting us towards solving the global warming crisis, or blame the Senate for squandering this opportunity.

As the Climate Security Act makes its way to the Senate floor next month, we must hammer these urgent points home. The Senate must seize this historic opportunity.

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. mikes
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    “The science is unforgiving. As the Earth warms, we approach a “tipping point”, after which large destructive climate changes become inevitable.”

    Oh, please.

    “Nature” published this weekend yet another study de-linking AGW and hurricanes: .

    World temperatures — both atmosphere and oceanic — continue to fall as solar activity tanks: and . IPCC certainly did not predict this.

    And, 30,000+ scientists say there is “no convincing evidence” of human-cause climate change:

    I will be the first to say that none of this is conclusive. But, lets stop the “tipping point” nonsense. You write, “as the earth warms…” World temperatures are FALLING. By definition any “tipping point” gets farther and farther away.

    Lets both support good continued research into an extraordinarily complicated area of science and be thankful Mother Nature is, at worst, giving us some breathing room and, at best, the possibility the AGW problem may be greatly overblown.

  2. Posted May 20, 2008 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    mikes – sounds like you don’t understand what is meant by “tipping point”. This isn’t philosophy – it’s a scientific term referring to a very real and dangerous climate dynamic. Here are some links that explain:

    9 Dangerous Tipping Points
    2 Key Climate Terms to Know

  3. mikes
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


    Thanks for the links. I took a look at them.

    To illustrate my point, here is one of the tipping points from the first link you provided: “Arctic Summer Sea Ice
    Critical Point: 0.5-2°C above present”

    Considering current world temperatures are about 0.4° COOLER now than they were in 1998, why haven’t the tipping points already “tipped”?

    And, if they didn’t tip then, how can the contention that we are “closer” to the “tipping points” be correct?


  4. Posted May 20, 2008 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    1934 and 1998 are tied as the warmest years on record. But that doesn’t mean the general trend isn’t up. You imply that because 1998 was warmer than 2007 that the general trend is down. That simply is not true. Take a look at this graph from NASA:

    Does that look like a COOLING trend to you?

    The reason for the bump you see from about 1930 to 1950 followed by a trough from 1950 to 1970 is the rise of industrialization with no pollution controls followed by a period of “global dimming“. The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and the temperature rise resumed.

  5. mikes
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 7:52 pm | Permalink


    Actually, 1934 was the warmest year in the U.S., not the world. The GISS graph for the world, which I believe is the one you meant to post, is here: . That said, the documented problems with this data set are well known in the meteorological community. The other three world temperature data sets (RSS, UAH and HADCRUT) are not what warm and are likely more representative of actual trends. I posted RSS above. Did you look at it? If so, why do you believe it is incorrect?

    When you say, “The reason for the bump you see from about 1930 to 1950 followed by a trough from 1950 to 1970 is the rise of industrialization with no pollution controls followed by a period of “global dimming“. The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and the temperature rise resumed.”

    Please consider carefully about what you are contending: You believe the Clean Air Act in the United States had a major effect on world temperatures?

    As to the global dimming, etc., that was “determined” by cranking various amounts of aerosols (particulates) into global climate models to see if the temperature curve could be made to match what was actually observed. There is no experimental or observational data to back up that contention. This is hardly convincing scientific evidence.

    As Roger Pielke, Jr., recently wrote, “Climate models are of no practical use beyond providing some intellectual authority in the promotional battle over global-warming policy.” Roger is certainly not known for being an AGW skeptic.

    Three of the four world temperature data sets show consistent cooling since 2002 with temperatures below those forecast by the IPCC. All show temperatures peaked in 1998.

  6. Posted May 21, 2008 at 12:37 pm | Permalink


    Yes, I should have posted the global temperatures. That shows the warming trend even more clearly and dramatically. I’m not aware of any problems with NASA data. Most people would say that NASA is a pretty reliable source.

    >Please consider carefully about what you are contending: You believe the Clean Air Act in the United States had a major effect on world temperatures?

    Sadly, the U.S. is responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world, so yes. The Clear Air Act in the U.S. could have a dramatic effect on world temperatures.

    The whole thing about this problem is that it’s global – what one country does can have a profound impact on the entire globe.

    As for the rest, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. The world is not cooling, it is warming, and to say anything else in the face of so much overwhelming evidence is just silly.

  7. Posted May 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Permalink


    In looking for “tipping point” data supporting some potential near-term catastrophic geophysical events associated with global warming, look no futher than the recent ice melt summarized in this month’s Imaging Notes on “the Need for Mapping Polar Bear Habitat Collapse”

    as well as summazrized in yesterday’s Washington Post…

    From the Capital Weather Gang blog I’ll just capture this succinct description of the ice melt situation and the liklihood of this melt trend reversing…

    According to a study published in February in Geophysical Research Letters, computer model predictions show a 50 percent chance that the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage will be “nearly ice free” in September of 2008. The study indicated that sea ice loss this year is likely to progress more slowly than last year, and reach a low but not necessarily record-breaking minimum.

    The NSIDC’s May 5 sea ice news and analysis stated that only 30 percent of first-year ice typically survives the summer melt season, compared to a 75 percent survival rate for older ice. NSIDC scientists compared survival rates from past years with the 2008 April sea ice coverage and determined that in order to avoid breaking last year’s record, more than 50 percent of this year’s first-year ice would need to make it through the melt season. To put this into further perspective, only 13 percent of first-year ice survived last year’s record melt.

    My point here is that whether one wants to ascribe man-made or other natural forces as the dominant player in these changes, there is consensus that there is a brewing catastrophe at hand in the Arctic.

  8. mikes
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Sheryl and Ithorell,

    Thanks for the constructive comments. We may have to ‘agree to disagree.’

    Because I don’t wish to drag this out, I will keep this post brief.

    Keeping the problems with the GISS data set out of the discussion, here’s proof temperatures are falling: Go to the link for the world temperatures at: . Now go to the MONTHLY data: and you will see that average temperatures for the past twelve months is about +0.4°. Now, plot that data point on NASA’s yearly graph. World air and ocean temperatures are, at present, cooling.

    With temperatures falling, what explains the loss of arctic ice last summer? There are at least two published papers that indicate large amounts of particulate pollution from China is being carried over the northern polar regions. If so that is correct, look at this demonstration: . That will answer the question as to how ice can melt more rapidly even as temperatures fall. Cutting down greenhouse gasses will do nothing to stop melting due to changes in albedo.

  9. mikes
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    For everyone’s convenience, here are the four measures of world temperature plotted on the same graph:

    Clearly, the world is cooling.

  10. Posted May 22, 2008 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I have no idea where this data comes from, but in any case, the graph clearly shows an upward (warming) trend, not a cooling trend.

  11. mikes
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink


    I say this with respect, but if you are not familiar with this set of data and cannot discern that it presently shows a rapid cooling trend then I suggest you educate yourself before writing additional pieces on this topic.

    I will happily email you with the background information. Just post that you would like to see it and I’ll contact you offline.

    Best wishes,


  12. Posted May 22, 2008 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    The y-axis isn’t labeled. It looks like temperature data, and the line is going up. Thus my comment.

    I’m not the scientist here. I could refer your post to one of our scientists, but whether the world is warming or cooling is not in dispute (except for you). Even President Bush acknowledges the world is warming. So there’s nothing more to say about it.

  13. Posted May 24, 2008 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Well here’s one more person that agrees with mikes. In fact as mikes mentioned, there are 30000 scientists that signed a petition that says
    “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects on the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

    So Cheryl and others at your organization, you appear to be very biased and closed minded, but the facts speak for themselves.

  14. Posted May 26, 2008 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Folks its really not all that Complicated
    Everyone can be happy with solutions already available.

    I thought you may like to look through these links.
    Please let me know if this is helpful.

    I don’t expect you all to buy anything from any of these people.
    My sole purpose is to get the word out. I can’t afford $4-$5 per gallon gas.

    I figure the more the word gets out the more available these things will become.

    Our climate has been changing since the begining of time it self.
    Also there are sections of the world that were once warm and are no longer. So who is to say what the Ideal climate for any given time is.


    Honda makes Water/Hydrogen fuel cell

    GM Makes Water/Hydrogen fuel cell

    BMW Makes Water/Hydrogen Fuel cell

    Man Converts his car over to use water as sole fuel source ( I Like this one it is very visual )

    Man Uses Micro fission HHO to make Cutting torch and converts his car over to completely use water as fuel source

    Web Site for conversion kits for both Hybrid and full conversion
    Story on Water/HHO as fuel sorce with references (this is a site I made)

  15. timgo
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I wonder where does mikes’ skepticism begin and end. Do you believe that any concern for the environment is misplaced?

  16. daveinchitown
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    There is a section in this bill, Section 4401, which could be used to increase construction and use of nuclear power. Nuclear is NOT green – fossil fuels are required for mining, transportation, and processing of nuclear fuel. Also, nuclear power plants routinely emit radioactive gases are part of their normal operations. Of course, disposing of spent fuel is also of major concern, .

  17. mikes
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    “Do you believe that any concern for the environment is misplaced?” Of course not. I consider myself both an environmentalist and a scientist (my background is in meteorology).

    That said, the facts indicate the IPCC’s scientific case is weakening (world temperatures dropped again in May, solar activity continues at very low levels, etc.) and I am dismayed at some of the scientific inaccuracies in the stories on this site so I have attempted to correct the record.

    Bad science is never a good thing.

  18. Posted January 8, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    I will be coming here again in a while to look more info and to find out more articles. This actually will earn some respect to the visitor when they read such a good info.